William Mclees has an architecture business in Upper Township.

Business: William McLees Architecture

Owner: William McLees, 43, of Palermo, Upper Township

Location: 5 McArthur Blvd., Somers Point

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Started: 2005

Employees: 2

Phone: 609-927-0888

William McLees Architecture opened in 2005, after I worked for a number of years at another firm doing a lot of casino work.

I wanted to focus on businesses and people in our community.

We are a studio design firm, so

we do smaller projects rather than enormous hotels.

We have the ability, from prior experience, to accomplish greater projects that comparably sized firms.

We have worked with Taubman, when they owned the pier, and Tanger Outlets and Cushman-Wakefield.

We've also done work as far south as Delaware, as far west as Las Vegas, and as far north as Connecticut.

Our focus is commercial. We are seeing a lot of residential now, especially because of the storm damage and restoration.

Recent commercial examples include Starbucks Coffee starting construction soon in Ocean City and a 7,000-square-foot Blackwood pediatrics office.

We recently completed work for a dementia unit for United Methodist Homes in Pitman, and we're currently working with Starbucks on other venues as well as with a

couple of area hotel condominium properties renovating and expanding.

In residential there's a little bit of new construction, but the majority of it is repairing storm damage and restoring, and trying to comply with the FEMA requirements, which has been a daunting task for a lot of people.

The challenge is meeting a client's goals while still giving the project a sense of place and tying it into its community, with an appropriate character and style that is practical and economical.

Entry: I started with Legos, which many architects would say. I always wanted to be involved in some design role, and was in high school architecture competitions. Then I got my degree in architecture from NJIT. I worked for 16 years for a firm in this area, and then opened my own practice.

Future plans: We'd like to incorporate green design a little more into our day-to-day practice. It's been slow to come to market, but that's understandable in this climate.

Business editor Kevin Post

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