Another plus: He’s already established relationships with Scott Schiamberg, Perkins Eastman’s Director of Sports & Exhibition, and Shawn Basler, the firm’s CO-CEO and Executive Director. Meis designed the Chase Training Center at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY, for example, where Perkins Eastman was the architect of record. Schiamberg is a Populous alum like Meis. And along with Basler, the three have gone after several projects together, starting with a stadium bid in the United Arab Emirates seven years ago when they first got to know each other. Fast forward to 2020, Basler said, and “like a lot of people during Covid, we were re-thinking our business strategy a little bit.” The two firms had again found themselves pursuing projects together – a stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and one at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD –– “and we just said, ‘Hey, do we want to think about doing this?’” Basler said.
Under the new arrangement, MEIS Architects will retain its brand, which is key to helping Perkins Eastman expand its Sports practice. “That will be the calling card. Everyone knows MEIS. When [a client] calls three or four people to bid for a stadium, he’s one of those calls,” Basler said. Because of MEIS’ small size, it always had to partner with another firm going into these bids, he added. As one entity, “This allows us to see the design all the way through.” Even more than the design of these venues, both sides see enormous potential in the growth of region-defining urban landscapes that will surround them. The new partnership “is providing a level of expertise in a [Large Scale Mixed-Use] market where we do so many things already,” Basler said. He noted that MEIS can immediately dive into the firm’s new project to redevelop the East End of Nashville’s Cumberland River – a stretch that includes Nissan Stadium, whose owners have already committed to invest in expanding mixed-use development around the sports and concert venue.