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Madison's SAA Design Group to grow, be acquired by Eau Claire-based Ayres Associates

Madison's SAA Design Group to grow, be acquired by Eau Claire-based Ayres Associates

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SAA Design Group, a longtime Madison-based planning and design firm specializing in urban renewal, has made a deal to be acquired in early 2015 by Ayres Associates, an engineering and architecture firm in Eau Claire.

SAA’s office at 101 E. Badger Road, which in January reported annual fees of $1.7 million and 14 employees, will remain where it is and become Ayres’ 13th U.S. office and its sixth in Wisconsin, the companies said in a news release. The acquisition price was not released, but SAA principal John Lichtenheld told the State Journal both he and founding principal David Schreiber would stay on at the office, along with all SAA employees, under the terms of the proposed letter of intent.

Additional hiring in Madison also is likely, he said, if the deal goes through as planned.

“We expect some growth, and we have additional capacity for it in this office,” Lichtenheld said.

Between them, the companies have more than eight decades of experience in planning and design-build services — Ayres with a 55-year history and SAA with 30 years — and they have teamed to complete projects in the past, including Phoenix Park in Eau Claire.

“They would do the engineering, and we would do the landscape architecture and the planning,” Lichtenheld said. “So the acquisition is very complimentary.”

Founded in 1959, Ayres is a nationwide engineering, mapping, environmental, architectural and survey firm with 12 offices in five states: five offices in Wisconsin and seven in Florida, Colorado, Wyoming and Arizona.

SAA Design Group, formerly known as Schreiber Anderson Associates, was founded in 1984 and offers landscape architecture, urban planning and civil engineering to public and private clients throughout the Upper Midwest, with an emphasis on urban renewal, park design, community planning and ecological restoration.

Schreiber was among the state’s first licensed landscape architects in 1972, and over the years he developed a specialty in helping waterfront communities revive their downtown centers, most notably the city of Beloit.

In Madison, SAA’s portfolio has included project design for the redevelopment of the Allied Drive neighborhood, and the civil and landscape design for the 30,000-square-foot Atrium at the Villager Mall in the 2300 block of Park Street. The company also did the roof gardens and other landscape elements at Monona Terrace, street reconstruction for St. Mary’s Hospital and site work for Madison Area Technical College going back to the 1980s.


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