It’s a match made in heaven, or at least Madison Avenue: up-and-coming riverfront town finds community-minded business to boost its tax-base and expand its cachet.

Nationally-recognized creative agency Deeplocal will vacate their Strip District headquarters by year’s end for 35,000 square feet of office space inside the former Fort Pitt Brewery complex in Sharpsburg.

“Our goal was to find a neighborhood we thought we could be a catalyst for,” says CEO Nathan Martin. “At a size of 60 people, and as we grow, [our impact] is now significant enough that we can help to transform a smaller neighborhood.”

RW Larson, who is also a tenant in the complex, will serve as project architect.

The five-year lease will involve relocating some 60 employees to the riverfront community, mere footsteps from where Hitchhiker Brewing opened their new brewery in Fort Pitt Brewery’s former powerhouse last week.

“Borrowing from our Lawrenceville neighbors and understanding that a vibrant community can be built through an economically sustainable base of businesses, we undertook a plan a few years ago to attract businesses to Sharpsburg through collaboration with Town Center Associates and Allegheny Together,” says incoming Sharpsburg mayor, Matthew Rudzki.

“Now the town is seeing the benefits.”

Deeplocal started life in 2006 as a spinoff of Carnegie Mellon’s STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. Originally located in East Liberty, above Shadow Lounge, Deeplocal moved to the Strip in 2012.

The agency specializes in dreaming, designing and fabricating fantastic contraptions and ad campaigns for clients like Google, Nike and others: perhaps you remember the Netflix socks that detect when you fall asleep and pause the show for you, or the soccer ball filled with HD cameras for Adidas — that’s all Deeplocal.

Deeplocal’s work has earned them national and international praise. They took home the silver for “Overall Small Agency of the Year” at the 2016 AdAge A-List Awards. In April, they were purchased by London-based advertising behemoth WPP, though the Sharpsburg move was in the works before the acquisition.

Martin says there are general plans to expand staff in 2018, but for now, Deeplocal has worked with the local community council to develop a mailing list of local contractors and laborers for short-term and part-time work. They recently hired a San Francisco-based director of creative strategy, and they also employ staff in Chicago and New York.

“Although a company with an international footprint, Deeplocal has a proven track record of being terrific community stewards and neighbors,” says Rudzki. “I’m confident the community will enjoy a long-term and collaborative relationship with Deeplocal.”

Brian Conway

Brian Conway is a writer and photographer whose articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune and local publications. In his free time, he operates Tripsburgh. Brian lives in the South Side.