A rendering of what the Fondren Point building will look like when renovations are complete. Photo courtesy Wier Boerner Allin Architecture
Wier Boerner Allin Architecture, the firm that designed and constructed such Jackson staples as Babalu Tacos & Tapas, The Iron Horse Grill and The Apothecary at Brent's Drugs, held a groundbreaking ceremony Feb. 18 for the firm's future location at the Fondren Point building, the former home of the Jackson Free Press and BOOM Magazine. The firm, which opened in the Fondren Corner building in 2010, is renovating and building out Fondren Point and will be moving its offices there sometime between April and July 2016.
The firm's owners and namesakes, Jamie Wier, Michael Boerner and Jack Allin, attended Mississippi State University and majored in architecture. Wier and Boerner first decided to go into business together seven years ago and opened the firm as Wier+Boerner Architecture. Allin, who had been living in Atlanta until he moved back to Jackson in 2011, joined Wier and Boerner as a partner in 2015, leading to a change in the firm's name.
"We started off working out of Cups in Jackson or out of our homes for the first year before we secured our location at Fondren Corner," Wier said. "The economy was down in 2009; there were lots of layoffs going on, and no one hiring, so it seemed like a good idea to go into business for ourselves. We wanted to be able to control our own destiny and impact the architecture and environment around us in Fondren in a meaningful way."
Wier Boerner Allin acquired the Fondren Point building in November 2015. After the purchase, it began renovations that included knocking down walls to create two large, one-room spaces on both the first and second floors. Other planned renovations include a rooftop terrace and small kitchen inside a new space being added onto the existing building. Wier Boerner Allin will lease the first floor to another company that has asked not to be identified yet.
Since the firm's beginnings, Wier Boerner Allin has grown from two people to a team of 18, all of whom are moving into the new offices at Fondren Point. Fondren's creative atmosphere played a major role in the owners' decision to stay in the neighborhood, Wier told the Jackson Free Press.
"Fondren is full of youth, art and energy, and the community here has done so much to support us over the last five years that we're committed to pour our own effort back into it," Wier said. "We want to keep producing, growing and building relationships here in Fondren."
Because there is technically no dirt to dig into, the owners "broke ground" last week by sticking a golden shovel into a pile of dirt dumped into the parking lot instead.
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