A decidedly 21st-century company is making an early-20th-century rarity its new home.
Griffin Technology, a top manufacturer of accessories for Apple devices like the iPod and iPhone, will relocate its headquarters to the Sawtooth Building near Interstate 65 and Wedgewood Avenue before the end of the year under the terms of a long-term lease.
The 40,000-square-foot industrial building on Lindell Avenue was most recently the home of American Sleep Products, but will be modernized in a partnership between Holladay Properties’ Tom Gibson and Allen Arender, and Cassidy Turley’s Ronnie Wenzler.
"[American Sleep] put up a sign and I went and saw it. As soon as I walked in, it was like nothing I'd ever seen in 23 years. I was looking at something unusual and beautiful. I really felt the building," Wenzler said.
Gibson, Arender and Wenzler's formed Sawtooth Partners and purchased the building without a tenant, but because of a long-term relationship with Griffin, Wenzler felt like the company would be a good fit.
"It resonated with them the same way it resonated with me," he said.
Arender said that, despite its age, the building has architectural features tenants look for in new builds.
"The architecture has north-facing windows and a sawtooth roof designed to let a lot of natural light into the manufacturing space," he said. "This was sustainability before it was a thing."
Wenzler sees the area off I-65 between Belmont and the fairgrounds, as a re-emerging commercial district.
"It's a significant step for that commercial section," he said. "There's a lot to enjoy in seeing something turn the corner."
Architect Nick Dryden of Dryden and Abernathy worked with the team. Much of the existing architecture will be incorporated into the redesign. Construction is scheduled to begin next month.
Griffin will move its worldwide HQ to the facility this fall when construction is complete. Among its features will be the company’s product development team and a 2,000-square-foot prototype shop.
"Relocating to this beautiful, old structure appealed to us immediately," said Mark Rowan, president of Griffin Technology. "We're thrilled to have found such a unique building that matches our creative culture and desire for interesting office space.”