Lake Architectural celebrates five years

It all started five years ago in a basement in Skaneateles.

Lake Architectural, located on Maple Street in Marcellus, will be celebrating its 5th anniversary on April 1. In its short history, the local company has made leaps and bounds, a library, and a name for itself in the world of sustainability.

In 2004, partners Wayne La France and Pete Sorber left their jobs after several years working as architects for various companies. La France said they both had gotten to a point where they worked so hard for other people that it was simply time for them to make their footprints in the sand.

"We used to do little housing projects on the side," La France said.

After forming Lake Architectural in 2004, the partners stayed in La France's basement until 2006 when they "made a leap" and moved into the Grace Chapel parsonage in Skaneateles. It was shortly after the move that the duo found out the property their offices are now located at were being sold by former owner Jeff Paul.

"He decided he didn't want the property," Sorber said, adding that a group of four or five people then got together and pooled their money to buy the land, which once housed the historic Upper Crown Woolen Mill.

After buying the property, Sorber said the group did a historic replication of the building, as they didn't have much to work with: part of the building and the old mill had been salvaged and sold off.

"We made this a purposeful effort," La France said of the new building. "This building is designed very compactly. A lot of thought went into it."

There were certain criteria the partners decided the building had to meet -- it had to be "green," they had to own it, and they strived to obtain a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, silver rating.

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