After years of planning and renovating the JDQ building, centrally located at 2625 Frederica St., is now home to several businesses. By adopting a business incubator model, the former headquarters of a prominent Owensboro engineering firm has been reborn.
Although it took several months before they could relocate to the new building, Worth Insurance Group became the first signed tenant. Due to the Center for Business and Research not renewing tenant leases in the spring of 2018, AXIOM Architecture found themselves in need of space quickly and they became the first physical tenant in the building. The most interesting tenant to the building is Yoga Loft Kentucky and Dr. Kay Corpus.
Since establishing in Bowling Green a little over a year ago, SKY Engineering has grown enough to open an office in Owensboro. SKY engineers are using the original JDQ drafting and project tables that once belonged to original Consulting Engineers founders J. Sam Johnson and O.L. Depp. E. S. Quisenberry later joined the two to form Johnson, Depp & Quisenberry.
The original JDQ building was completed on the outskirts of Owensboro in October of 1958, with Johnson, Depp & Quisenberry Consulting Engineers occupying most of the building. Architect Max Bisson was in the second-floor space in the front of the building.
In its heyday, during the ’60s and ’70s, the firm employed more than 120 people in three states: Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois and designed many parkways, roads, bridges, subdivisions, sewer systems, local swimming pools, as well as the Owensboro Sportscenter and Owensboro Country Club. At one point Johnson reportedly received a letter from Daytona, Florida, requesting that he consult on a race track they planned to build.
Tab and Vicki Quisenberry purchased the property and its contents in November 2016, when the last two engineering partners dissolved Johnson, Depp & Quisenberry Consulting Engineers in December 2016.
“The building needed a lot of work,” Tab said. “The roof leaked, the plumbing and electrical were almost sixty years old. The building was heated by huge boilers on both floors. The drop ceilings were filthy after years of cigarette smoke, dust and gas heat.”
Tab said the couple was unsure what they wanted to do with the two buildings on the 1.9 plus acres in the middle of town, but they knew they had a good location and a nice piece of land.
“We spent a year removing contents, black-and-white flooring, the suspended ceiling system and ductwork,” Vicki said. “The more time we spent in the building, the more we began to envision a business incubator-type office complex that combined the historical aspects of the business with unique mid-century modern architecture and high-quality technology.”
Vicki said she and Tab are re-purposing as many of the furnishings as possible, including turning an old blueprint plotter into a bar and old tripod into a cocktail table. They plan to use vintage furnishings in the conference room and will be displaying historic items in several creative ways.
“Downstairs North was originally going to be our small business area,” Vicki said. “That changed when Encompass Home Health contacted us. They are now in the downstairs north suite and the small business area moved upstairs-north.”
Mitch Harris of Evansville-based Business Communications Solutions (BCS) indicated the company was picking up more business in Owensboro and needed a local office with visibility.
“They have been very patient as we shifted them around to accommodate larger tenants. They were the last ones to move into the small business area upstairs in January,” Vicki said. “Dr. Corpus temporarily moved her office and the yoga studio to the front building. We are working on designing a much larger space for her in the back building. She is going to need that extra space. Yoga Loft classes are very popular.”
The final two spaces in The JDQ Building are the conference room and office suite that are available by the hour. Most people have seen the 1,100 square foot terrace that replaced the original front porch, but there is also an 800-plus-square-foot flexible space behind the terrace and a catering area that includes a commercial oven and refrigerator.
“With the conference room space, we want to provide all-inclusive pricing for clients wishing to host breakfast, lunch, dinner or cocktail events,” Vicki said, adding that in recent weeks, JDQ has provided space for a baby shower, several board meetings, Lunch & Learn Continuing Education Seminars and other events.
The last space in the front building is a single furnished office with secure fiber net that can be rented by the hour. Two-year leases can be negotiated to reserve the space for the same time each week or clients can pay by the hour with a four-hour minimum.
“I frequently meet people who work in Owensboro one day a week, twice a month or once a quarter who need temporary office space,” Vicki said. “We hope the space is also appealing to those working from home who need space temporarily; for instance, a CPA who works from home, but needs to meet with clients over several days during tax season.”
The site plan indicates there is enough parking available to add another two-story 9,800 square foot building to the property. The owners will add this building with signed long-term leases; otherwise, they will leave green space to be enjoyed by tenants and as possible event space.
“It’s all worked out and we could not be happier about our unique mix of tenants, providing a unique meeting and small event space and growing Owensboro business community a few people at a time,” Vicki said.
For those interested in rental space, Quisenberry said to call (270) 302-7330 for more information.