The deal would make it the nation’s 11th largest architectural firm
By Blair Kamin | Tribune critic
One of Chicago’s largest architectural and engineering firms, OWP/P, is merging with Cannon Design, an even larger design firm based in upstate New York, the firms will announce Thursday. Terms of the deal, a complex cash and stock transaction, were not disclosed.
The new firm, which largely will operate under the Cannon brand, will be one of the nation’s largest. Its combined 2007 revenues of $158.3 million would make it the nation’s 11th biggest architectural firm, according to a survey that the trade journal Architectural Record published last year.
John Syvertsen, OWP/P’s president, acknowledged that the recent construction downturn has forced his firm, like many in Chicago, to lay off architects. But he denied that the merger is recession-related and said it would not lead to a fresh round of layoffs in the Chicago office.
“We started our conversations when the stock market was at 13,000,” he said in a telephone interview. “For us, it means we will be part of a national and international network of offices. Basically, our platform will expand.”
Meanwhile, the deal gives Cannon, which has a small office in Chicago, a much larger presence in one of the nation’s top markets.
Headed by co-chairman and CEO Gary Miller, Cannon Design, with 800 architects and staff, has offices in several U.S. and Canadian cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. Like OWP/P, it has a health-care specialty.
OWP/P has offices in Chicago and Phoenix.
OWP/P, which specializes in elementary schools, colleges and universities, health-care and commercial work, ranked 52nd in the Architectural Record survey, with $52.9 million in revenue. Cannon, based in Grand Island, N.Y., near Buffalo, ranked 19th, with $95.4 million.
Cross posted from Chicago Tribune