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SR buys an office building

Published March 27, 2020
Sparks Reed hopes to enter its new home in May  

Sparks Reed Architecture and Interiors will complete its first 10 years in business by buying its first office building.


On March 27, Sparks Reed acquired the 5,000-square-foot Signs of the Times building at 18 E. Hobson Ave. in downtown Sapulpa, OK.


"It's got great bones," Sparks Reed principal David Reed said of the 116-year-old structure. "The previous owner did a great job of bringing it back from the brink of total destruction."


Following a brief refit, Sparks Reed hopes to occupy its new home by May. That move promises a fresh start for this architectural firm, which has worked from the Tulsa office of CJC Architects since a 2017 twister wrecked Sparks Reed's Remington Tower home.


"We really feel like we've been camping out the last two years in somebody else's space," said Reed. "We're grateful for what CJC did for us, taking us in so readily after that storm and making us feel so welcome, but it's not our home.  We have never felt that it was our space and have been reluctant to impose our personality onto CJC's office."


This move should help Sparks Reed with more than self-expression.


"This purchase is getting us back to our core function of being a studio design firm," said Reed. "Now, we will be able to have our team all sitting together, bouncing ideas off each other and sharing concepts, without having to walk across the office or worry about distracting another group of architects."


The diverse history of Sparks Reed's new home should aid this creativity. Since its 1904 opening, the one-story brick and wood structure has served as a livery stable, automotive garage, carpentry shop, glass plant, pipe fabrication business, and entertainment venue. The stable's original sliding door still works, providing access to an ornate space Sparks Reed will use as its conference room.


"I really like the bow-string trusses and barrel-vault roof structure," Reed said. "It's reminiscent of some of our favorite gymnasium projects and historical gyms of the past."


Arenas, stadiums, and other sports facilities are a hallmark of Sparks Reed, which Reed co-founded a decade ago with Gary Sparks and Jill Selman. While its portfolio involves a wide range of successful projects, including churches, schools, office buildings,  parks, and automotive dealerships, Sparks Reed's sports efforts stand out. The firm has designed more than a dozen high school and college athletic facilities since its launch in 2011, with the latest two in different stages of construction and several more in the design phase.


Reed intends to celebrate this history in a style fitting bowstring-trussed arenas.


"We'll be able to hang our own banners for our projects from those rafters," Reed said. "That will be a nice touch to remind our team of their wins (success)." 


These trusses extend over a large central room that will house Sparks Reed's staff.


"It is putting us back together to where we can just look up from our monitors and interact with each other," Reed said. "It will go a long way to rekindling our studio and team atmosphere."



Reed sees similar benefits from that downtown Sapulpa setting, just 15 minutes from downtown Tulsa.


"It's a fresh start in a vibrant, walkable new community," said Reed, a longtime Sapulpa resident and member of the Sapulpa Chamber of Commerce board of directors. "There's a lot of activity happening in downtown Sapulpa right now. Our team's excited to be part of it."


Besides Sparks Reed's arrival, downtown Sapulpa enthusiasts look forward to a future with new restaurants and multiple housing projects entering the district. Several building owners also are making repairs from a 2019 tornado strike.


"Sparks Reed has done a lot of the architectural work here for several years now," said Suzanne Shirey, president of the Sapulpa Chamber of Commerce. "We're just glad they want to call this home. And we love having David on our board of directors. He really brings a lot to the table!"


Reed feels privileged to make this transition.


"It's very satisfying to be a caretaker of a building that's been there for more than 100 years," he said. "Hopefully, it will be there another 100 years under our stewardship."

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