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Last Thursday, Sept. 21, M3 Group unveiled its brand-new office building on the corner of Seymour Avenue and Saginaw Street in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked the completion of its year-long renovation.
Founder and CEO Tiffany Dowling said the idea to restore the old building started for her about two years ago. She said that with her growing company, she knew it was time for a larger space.
“I was at a point where I knew I needed to have building that would fit everyone inside, and I love this building. I had driven by it for years and years and years and always thought ‘oh that building could be something really special,” Dowling said.
The original building was built in 1893 and was used as a German Methodist Episcopal Church. Being used for several different purposes over the years, M3 Group bought the building in July 2016, and began renovation the following February.
In a speech before the ceremonial ribbon was cut, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero dubbed M3 Group and Dowling as a ‘true Lansing success story’ and said it is an example for people around the community to preserve old buildings in the area.
“Thank God for the Tiffany Dowling who believe enough and see what a building could be and repurpose it,” the mayor said.
Dowling said the journey in repurposing this building was not an easy one but felt like it was needed to be done for the community.
“I never considered myself as someone who would want to restore old buildings and I probably will never do another one, but I just fell in love with this building over time and I wanted to make sure it had life in it,” she said. “I felt like it was my responsibility at that point to make this a great place for my team and for the City.”
M3 Group is a full-service branding and publication agency that services magazines in the greater-Lansing area including Capital Area Women’s Lifestyle Magazine, Greater Lansing Business monthly and Ing Magazine. The group was founded in 2002 and has grown into a 25-person operation, offering a wide range of media services from public relations to video and audio production, media planning and buying.
Prior to the moving to the new office building, the group occupied two separate houses and worked in different buildings. Many of the current employees say being under one roof is one of the most exciting parts of the renovation.
“I’m just really excited to be in one house. We’ve been in two houses as M3 Group and So I’m really excited to finally be unified in one,” Account Executive Megan Fleming said. “I think it really kind of brings us to a new level.”
The total cost of renovation came out to just under $1 million and features three levels of workspace for the employees. Maintaining some of the original architecture of the church, including the tin ceiling, the space has many modern features especially bright colored walls and an open-air staircase that connects the top two levels. The building also features a sound booth, photography studio, kitchenette and workout space.
“I think (the space) is really going to contribute as far as communicating,” Communications Specialist Kristopher Johnson said. “As well as the way everything is designed as far as comfortability — how we have a room with bean bag chairs and stuff like that. I think the design of the building and the offices will really get our creative juices flowing.”
Dowling hopes the new building will be a space where her team can be comfortable and is something everyone is proud of.
“I’m super excited because my team is excited. I think they're going to do great work here and they're going to enjoy being in this office. For me, that’s the real payoff.”