LAND Studio was formed through the merger of two major non-profit organizations serving the Cleveland area, Cleveland Public Art (CPA) and ParkWorks. Historically, CPA’s focus was enhancing public spaces through installation of public art while ParkWorks focused on the creation and continued improvement of Cleveland’s greenspaces. Over time, the two organizations’ work evolved and in response to their frequent collaboration and shared passion, CPA and ParkWorks made the decision to merge into one collaborative organization with a shared vision and mission to improve the city’s public space. The two organizations’ boards of trustees made a joint decision to engage Allegro to assist in identifying office space for the newly formed non-profit entity – their first major decision as a combined organization.
The new space needed to accurately reflect LAND Studio’s mission, provide the organization with easy access to its clients and funders, foster collaboration among the new team, and fit within the pre-defined budget created by the two organizations. Allegro created a customized survey, designed to tease out the major decision drivers for each organization, resulting in a focused set of parameters for the space search. Extensive qualitative and quantitative analyses were conducted for each option, assisting the real estate committee in evaluating the spaces against the selection criteria defined by the leaders of the two organizations. Once the preferred location was chosen, Allegro led the negotiation of the business terms, driving a complicated deal between an owner-user landlord and the newly formed non-profit organization to conclusion. Throughout the process, the two merging boards, consisting of approximately 20 members apiece, were kept abreast of the status of the site selection process, allowing their thoughts and comments to be effectively incorporated in the negotiations. The end result was a space that married traditional office space with an engaging street-level presence and provided a functional build-out that could be funded by the landlord within the negotiated rental rate. The solution met LAND Studio’s financial and operational goals, established project-based effective communication with old and new boards, and enabled the merged organizations to start in a new location in which they will thrive.