Metisentry has made downtown Akron home for more than four years, and in 2015 moved into the Nantucket Building at 17 S. Main St. Metisentry builds applications and manages infrastructures with the goal of changing the way people do business. They solve business problems through applications, which has recently come to include work for the government sector. Through an acquisition in September 2017, they now produce the largest credentialing application for workforce management in the country.

We sat down with Founder and President Marling Engle and Administrator Laura Engle, over breakfast at Chameleon Café to learn more about their downtown experience.

How did you find The Nantucket Building?

ME: We were in the United Building for two years and when Tony Troppe began plans to covert that into a hotel, we started looking for new space. We found this office for sale and loved being a part of this neighborhood in downtown. Being a foodie, one of the reasons we came to downtown was Crave. When looking at our original space, I saw Crave out of the window and said, “There we go. Perfect match.”

We’re now planning an expansion into the second suite on this floor that will begin next quarter. In total we have just under 7,000 sq. ft. for approximately 16-17 employees. With the expansion, we plan to add about 15 people which will max out our part of this building.

What makes working downtown so appealing to you and your employees?

ME: I think it’s the activity. Between the Akron Art Museum, the main library and several restaurants, it always feels there is something going on. And it’s walkable.

What amenities and venues do you and your employees experience in downtown Akron?

ME: RubberDucks definitely. Through a sister company we purchased a supply of baseball tickets and had a family and friends day at Canal Park. It’s always a great time. The Akron Art Museum, The Peanut Shoppe and restaurants are other things we highlight to our staff and out of town guests.

LE: In addition to the restaurants and venues downtown, another big benefit to downtown Akron is the collaboration in our building that we didn’t really have in our previous location. In the Nantucket Building, everyone is engaged with each other on some level.

Is there anything surprising about downtown that you didn’t expect to find?

LE: That parking is accessible and you can always find a spot. And once you get familiar with it, it’s very easy. Parking is inexpensive too, even free during certain times.

What key things have you done within your workspace to enhance collaboration?

ME: Within the office we’ve always naturally had an open door policy and we’re very transparent. I think that transparency breeds collaboration. Outside the workplace, Laura gets us involved in community efforts and our neighborhood.

LE: There are just so many great amenities downtown and many people don’t realize it. Akron has that kind of big city feel but everything’s close and accessible and reasonably priced. It’s just a matter of getting folks out of their comfort zone.
We started doing that with “Field Trips” that we take regularly where we walk to different locations. Along the way I point out other places to visit. We also do after-hours trips to promote the idea of staying downtown after work and showing what the nightlife can be like. We look forward to planning something at the new Northside Marketplace soon with our team.

Have you tied into the University of Akron for workforce development?

ME: We regularly post openings on their job boards to try and bring as many people locally as we can. We hired an intern last summer and plan to again this summer. The languages we work in tend to be popular on the coasts, but not so much in the Midwest. We end up having to train most of our developers, so we’ve gotten very adept at training and teaching people how to do things. We’re okay with bringing people in who don’t know any of the languages and teaching them.

Tell us about the lunchtime music that happens next door in Commerce Park

LE: We enjoy helping to activate spaces downtown. We very much feel that the more activity there is, the better the community will thrive. When we first moved in to the Nantucket Building, Chris Niekamp (of the neighboring law firm, Niekamp, Weisensell, Mutersbaugh & Mastrantonio) approached us about an old series they did in Commerce Park (Nantucket Nights) so we wanted to spin it to happen during the day. That took off in 2016 and we now have music every Wednesday during lunch in the summer. We’ve even done a few nighttime events in collaboration with the Artwalk and 3rd Thursday.

What do you see as downtown Akron’s next move?

ME: Continuing to build on the residential and increasing foot traffic. We have at least one staff member that moved within a block, so it wouldn’t surprise me if more would move downtown if housing was available, especially people that we’re recruiting from out of state.



 

[pdfviewer width="100%" height="770"]https://www.ohio.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/JLL-Akron-Office-Outlook-Spring-2018_Final.pdf[/pdfviewer]

 



 

From rising employment levels to new development, the city is taking shape to further establish itself as a prime location for businesses and residents. JLL’s newly released Akron Spring Office Outlook (http://bit.ly/JLLAkronReport) offers a detailed look at the key success drivers in the city. Here are some of the highlights:

Today, total vacancy in Downtown Akron sits at just 16.6%—down from 20.6% in 2015.*
The average asking rent has increased $0.61 per square foot (or 4%) since 2015, now sitting at $17.01 per square foot.*
Business growth in downtown Akron gains momentum as Mayor Horrigan continues to push the efforts of Bounce, the Akron Growth Council and The Downtown Akron Vision and Redevelopment plan—all focused on business retention and growth.
Downtown Akron’s retail scene feels a boost from the opening of the Northside Marketplace as city developers look to encourage more retail development along Cedar, Main and Exchange Streets.

*Statistics per JLL Office Outlook | Akron| Spring 2018