When you first start a business, you make a lot of choices based on necessity. You take every call, pitch every opportunity, and cut costs in every way imaginable. With time and success, things loosen up a bit. You recommend potential business to other vendors when it's not a right fit. You splurge on a new A+ team member over more affordable options. After a while, you realize that the freedom to choose what you want as opposed to what you can scrape together leads to much better choices.
Last fall, ATAK Interactive was fortunate enough to find ourselves growing to a place where we could make smart, measured decisions to grow our business. We spent the first two quarters of 2015 building a great team, strengthening all of our service offerings, and moving into a new creative space in the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles.
The decision to move downtown was vital in defining the type of company we wanted to be. Sure, we had outgrown our West LA office space and needed to make a change, but we didn’t make any changes just because we had to. We wanted this decision to reflect the company we had grown into and to set the stage for the company in which we’re becoming.
Once we looked at the move as the opportunity to set the infrastructure for our future, moving into 941 E. 2nd St. #201 was an easy decision to make.
An Incredible Space
While there’s a lot to love about the neighborhood, and believe me, we’ll get to that in a minute, the fact is, we were drawn in by a Craigslist ad. It promised all the things you’d want in a new office: a large space, affordable cost per square feet, high ceilings, exposed brick, and tons of natural light from the large windows that overlook the city.
We walked in and let’s just say the previous tenant was not what you would call “neat.” Even with the mess, whose clutter included three pee pads for a Yorkie, it was clear on our first look that we could turn this unit into a beautiful office. There was a large open space for us to work together as a team, and two private rooms for conferences and calls. There was enough square footage for us to grow into the unit but also provide our current team the room to work at different stations on different projects.
After visiting over 10 places both downtown and on the west side, I can honestly say that we moved into the best space that we saw.
All Good in the Neighborhood
The first thing you notice during a stroll through the Arts District is the street art. If you’re from outside of LA or live in a rural area, you may think that “street art” is an apologist’s way of saying “graffiti.” It’s not. It's art. Street art is a big part of the Los Angeles décor, and the Arts District has the most concentrated showcase in the entire city.
When you’re not swept away by the vivid and daring imagery that lines the street, hopefully you’re enjoying a nice cocktail or bite at one of our local restaurants or bars. ATAK lunch favorites include The Black Fig, Americano, The Fisherman’s Outlet (or “FO” if you’re cool like me), and Wurstkutche. Adult beverages have been enjoyed at Angel City Brewery, Cerveteca, Ossa, and EightyTwo among others.
But beyond the eclectic art and tasty distractions is an emerging group of businesses we’re proud to share the same turf with. Whether it’s building a speed rail to San Francisco (HyperLoop), creating advanced scientific technology for fitness clothing (Vimmia), or simply making the best damn buttermilk pie you’ll ever taste (Pie Hole), the Arts District continues to swell with interesting, forward-thinking businesses meant to disrupt and innovate.
It’s also incredibly friendly. Everyone is on the same wavelength. If we want the area to thrive, we have to build it up together. There’s a common vision and thus, a desire to keep business local.
Creativity is Contagious
At ATAK, our brainstorming sessions are influenced by Improv’s “yes and” philosophy. We like to build on everyone’s creativity and take an original idea to a better place with different contributions from our diversified team. This is simply an extension of our environment.
Downtown Los Angeles was a piece of (editor’s retraction) in 1999 when the Staples Center opened. There was the ghost of once-prominent theaters and hotels that devolved into discount clothing stores and abandoned buildings. Historic landmarks like the Bradbury Building and the Biltmore Hotel were diamonds in a trash can. Without the financial sector office hours, the city was desolate on the weekends. The idea of “walking around downtown” seemed about as safe as paragliding with a blanket.
But things turned around. Smart people invested in turning empty office buildings into lofts. Restaurants began popping up. LA Live started creating a perception that downtown was safe again, or at least safer, and the city was regaining trust in downtown. Fast forward 15 years and the average rent price is higher downtown than Beverly Hills.
The ascent wasn’t immediate, but the urban renaissance is here. And it happened because a series of great ideas kept building atop one another.
We’re here to keep the hammers slamming and the scaffolds raising. We don’t look at this opportunity to come downtown and enjoy the fruits of so many others’ labor and to bask in their success. We’re now here to push things even further. We’re here to do our jobs, bring our clients into the neighborhood, and to spread the word about what’s going on in our new neighborhood.
And to our new neighbor, we are ATAK Interactive. We’re a creative agency that’s rooted in providing the ultimate customer experience for our clients and being unafraid to open new doors. We are eager to be here, to lend a hand, and to represent the Arts District and its community to the best of our ability.
Oh, and did I mention we’re total goofballs?