Exclusive: Two Tampa architecture firms mergeTwo of Tampa’s oldest architecture firms have merged to become one of the city’s largest. BDG Architects and Urban Studio Architects join formally on Friday as BDG Architects. The Urban Studio team of three architects and three interior designers will move to the Wells Fargo building at 100 S. Ashley Drive from an office in the Grand Central at Kennedy building that the firm helped design. “This merger will give our employees the ability to do bigger, better and more exciting work,” said Urban Studio Managing Principal Mickey Jacob, who becomes the executive vice president at BDG. “We will be able to go after bigger projects across the region,” he told the Tampa Bay Business Journal exclusively. The timing was right for the merger because the market has been improving. “The timing is good because both firms were looking to transition,” said BDG President Chris Kirschner. “Both firms were looking to grow.” The new firm will have more than 20 licensed architects and a full staff of about 65. That will make the new firm the second largest in Tampa Bay by licensed architects behind only Harvard Jolly Inc. in St. Petersburg, according to the TBBJ list of architecture firms published June 21. “The relationship has been there a long time,” Kirschner said. “They bring a unique aspect to the larger firm – that design aspect.” BDG occupies the first floor of 100 S. Ashley Drive in downtown Tampa. The merger has the larger firm building out on the second floor of the building by about 2,500 square feet. BDG has its name on some high-profile projects like the Tampa Bay Times Forum and the Palace at Auburn Hills in Michigan, as well as many of the JPMorgan Chase buildings in the Southeastern United States. Urban Studio’s resume includes the new Epicurean Hotel on South Howard Avenue and The Birchwood in downtown St. Petersburg. Jacob is the 2013 president of the American Institute of Architects. Chris Wilkerson is Deputy Editor of the Tampa Bay Business Journal.