The shortage of space at Cargas Systems’ building in the Stockyards Business Park had gotten extreme.
Executives and managers had given up their offices for other employees to use. Even so, only about half of the company’s 135 employees fit in the Marshall Avenue building.
The rest were working from home, in co-working space and at a temporary extra office. Company meetings were being held at the Lancaster Chamber and the Farm & Home Center.
Cargas moves into new location at 101NQ [photos]
But on Oct. 7, those challenges rooted in Cargas’ undersized 11,500-square-foot headquarters became a thing of the past.
The rapidly growing business-software and consulting company consolidated in 101NQ, the former Bulova building at Queen and Orange streets.
“It’s great getting everybody together,” said Nate Scott, Cargas president and CEO.
Cargas became the first occupant of the building, which is being tranformed from a dreary, long-vacant factory where artillery-shell fuzes were made into a dazzling mix of office, retail and residential uses.
Cargas is leasing 33,000 square feet — more than the 25,000 square feet it initially sought — a boost necessitated by that expanding workforce.
Pittsburgh-based Zamagias Properties is the developer of the $30 million project at 101 N. Queen St., which is revitalizing a key corner of downtown Lancaster.
Cargas’ third-floor space blends a contemporary look, featuring warm shades of blue and gray walls and carpet, plus high ceilings, large windows and an open layout.
Nonetheless, employee voices don’t carry far and distract co-workers, thanks to a sound-masking system that provides ambient sound at the frequency of human speech. EzoBord sound-soaking panels suspended from the ceiling also add to privacy while separating pods of offices.
Underscoring the priority Cargas puts on employee collaboration, the space has 29 meeting rooms, some side-by-side so they can be combined when necessary.
“This space is really going to help us do great work for our customers,” said Scott.
Other features highlight Cargas’ emphasis on employee health. For employees who wish to bike to work, there’s a bike rack, five showers and a locker for each employee.
There’s also amenities geared to relaxation, such as a large deck, a cafe and a ping-pong table.
The space’s furniture, finishes and equipment cost Cargas more than $1 million, according to Scott.
Cargas’ new location marks the latest peak in the employee-owned firm’s steadily upward trajectory.
Founded by Chip Cargas in his home in 1988, it moved to Granite Run in 2001. By 2009 it had 42 employees and announced plans to move to the leased Marshall Avenue building the next year.
Five years after that move, the company had 57 employees and knew it needed to move again.
Scott is hoping that 101NQ is Cargas’ home for at least 15 years. The space is outfitted for 165 employees. And by leasing more space at 101NQ, Cargas could have up to 250 employees there.
Cargas sells proprietary software to fuel delivery and HVAC companies, re-sells Microsoft Dynamics software to accounting, manufacturing and distribution companies, and re-sells Sage Intacct cloud accounting software to mid-size businesses.
Thanks to annual increases in revenue averaging 18% over the past five years, Cargas anticipates 2019 revenue of $24 million.
But Cargas didn’t have 101NQ to itself for long.
Free Press, a 1,800-square-foot sneaker and clothing boutique, opened Friday.
Other tenants coming are: Vill + Rue, an 1,100-square-foot furniture and home decor store opening in late October; Starbucks, a 2,200-square-foot coffee shop opening “this fall”; Casa Carlo, a 1,300-square-foot Italian market opening in late October; Yahi, a 1,000-square-foot Hawaiian poke restaurant opening in late October; Blossom Med Spa, a 3,100-square-foot medical spa opening in mid-November; and PeoplesBank, in 1,400 square feet, opening in early 2020.
Alex Ebert of PPM Real Estate, which is handling the commercial space leases, has one more signed tenant announcing soon and three more prospects in lease negotiations (including a 3,000-square-foot restaurant). Two other retail spaces remain and are drawing interest.
Joining Cargas on the third floor is iTrain with Wayne, which will open this fall.
The building also will be the home of Steinman Communications and its LNP Media Group, publisher of this newspaper, as was announced in June.
They will be the building’s largest tenant, leasing 40,000 square feet on the second floor. A late first-quarter move from 8 W. King St. is expected.
Topping the building are 15 fourth-floor residential condominiums, including a pair of two-story penthouses, at prices ranging from $700,000 to $1.6 million. Six condos have been sold, including one of the penthouses, according to listing agent Anne M. Lusk of Lusk & Associates Sotheby’s International Realty.
Staff Writer Chad Umble contributed to this story.