Each year, the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations that help improve the quality of life in Bakersfield, and honors them during the annual Beautiful Bakersfield Awards gala.
For 2016, nominations were received in 17 categories including humanitarian, arts and culture, education, and businessperson of the year, among many others.
For its work in helping revitalize downtown Bakersfield with a six-month, seven-figure renovation of an old 30,000 square-foot building — the Bakersfield-based law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles was nominated for a Beautiful Bakersfield award in the “renovation/tenant improvement” category.
Learn a little more about the accident and injury law firm’s recognition, as well as the awards program, here:
Revitalizing downtown Bakersfield
Chain | Cohn | Stiles turned one of the city’s oldest building into a modern workplace that helped to contribute to ongoing efforts to revitalize downtown Bakersfield.
After spending 30 years in the Bank of America building on Chester and Truxtun avenues, the 80-year-old local law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles moved into a new building in August 2015. The six-month, seven-figure renovation of the 30,000 square-foot building on the southwest corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street has changed the landscape of one of downtown Bakersfield’s most historic intersections. With the help of architect Paul Skarphol and contractor Dave Whitezell, Chain | Cohn | Stiles took a shell of a building that once housed Goodwill Industries and sat vacant for nearly three years, and turned it into a modern workplace for the 30-employee firm.
Some of the work included cutting new windows into 17-inch reinforced concrete walls on the north side of the building, creating a new internal work space and completely renovating the entire first floor, repainting the exterior and adding signs and lights around the exterior to shine on downtown Bakersfield. The law firm has worked with Boss Pizza and Bakersfield Downtown Business Association to install lights and other efforts to make the alleyway and nearby area safer.
Additionally, the firm added “green elements” including energy-efficient lighting and a cutting-edge climate control system. The front lobby – with hanging ring lights and a glass lit logo sign – with a connecting large conference room are welcoming sights for clients, visitors, media and others who have used the new space. In fact, these areas are often used by other local organizations for meetings and gatherings – including Mothers Against Drunk Driving Kern County’s regular meetings.
To add an aesthetic feel downtown, the logos have the ability to change colors, and have been changed to observe various holidays and designated dates throughout the year (red for Go Red for Women, pink for breast cancer awareness, etc.)
At one point, all buildings in the corners at the intersection of Chester Avenue and 18th Street sat vacant – a dark visual of the depressed business area in downtown Bakersfield. Opening an established, thriving business office in the area was “a hopeful sign for the continuing evolution of Bakersfield’s commercial and historical core,” according to The Bakersfield Californian.
For its work, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has already received the Downtown Beautification Project award from the Bakersfield Downtown Business Association.
And the winner is …
The Beautiful Bakersfield Awards has been held annually since the 1990s and this year was held June 4 at the Double Tree Hotel, hosted by KGET Channel-17’s Jim Scott and Tami Mlcoch. To see the complete awards program, filmed by TBC Media, click here, and individual category awards can be viewed here. A full list of winners can be seen here.
The “Renovation/Tenant Improvement” award ultimately was awarded to Bakersfield Pediatrics and Valley Children’s Hospital, and you can view the category presentation here.
In a letter to Chain | Cohn | Stiles, president and CEO of the Greater Chamber of Commerce Nicholas Ortiz thanked the law firm for “playing such an active role in our city’s advancement and making such a positive difference in our community.”
“Your nomination pays tribute to the time, effort and commitment that you so generously gave to enhance and improve our community’s quality of life,” Ortiz wrote.