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Posted on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Barracuda moves: Tour the new office space in downtown Ann Arbor

By Lizzy Alfs

Barracuda Networks’ headquarters might be in California, but the company’s strategic focus is right here in Ann Arbor.

And with new offices on Maynard Street in downtown, Barracuda is poised to expand its local workforce while investing in the community.

“This is a really attractive center to grab the best talent in the area,” said Sean Heiney, Barracuda’s vice president of strategic initiatives.

Blair Hankins, Barracuda’s vice president of engineering, added: “We’re excited to be able to hire like we want to. We were too packed at our other location.”

Barracuda, a network security firm whose products protect clients from threats over email, web and IM, signed a lease in June to move its offices from a 12,000-square-foot space on Depot Street to 45,000 square feet on Maynard Street. The new, three-story office is attached to the former Borders bookstore and partly underneath the public parking garage on Maynard.

The company’s 200 Ann Arbor employees have started moving offices, and the plan is to have everyone moved to Maynard by next week, Hankins said.

blue_room_barracuda networks.jpg

A workstation at Barracuda Networks' new offices in Ann Arbor.

Photo by Stevie Blyler

In the five months since Barracuda signed the lease, the new office has been completely transformed. Windows have been installed on the exterior of the building and old carpet and drywall was torn out, leaving exposed brick columns and concrete floors.

“What we do is build things,” said Guy Suter, Barracuda’s general manager. “We wanted to urbanize this space and promote creativity.”

The space is still a work in progress, Suter said, and he’s planning to meet with a graffiti artist this weekend to draw art on the white cinder block walls in the office. He said Barracuda intends to build out the space over time.

The basement level will have a lounge and recreation area for employees, with a pinball machine, pool table, video games and a kegerator. The goal is to give employees a place to unwind and hang out when they’re not working. The company also participates in several rec leagues and out-of-office activities — such as attending University of Michigan football games.


Barracuda preferred the exposed brick and concrete over the drywall and carpet that was previously in the space.

Photo by Stevie Blyler

“When people like each other, they work better together,” Hankins explained.

The office has a large server room, video conference rooms, a “think tank” room with whiteboards, several lounge areas and a social media and video-shooting studio. There is wide-open office space, a few conference rooms and not a single private office, promoting collaboration amongst the employees.

“This space is energetic,” Suter said. “The energy that comes from being downtown and around everything going on will really translate to our work…it’s amplified.”

Suter said the company does provide breakfast foods and snacks, but they’re encouraging employees to go out for lunch to support downtown businesses. They’re also looking forward to the redevelopment of the former Borders retail space along East Liberty Street.

Barracuda gives cash incentives to employees who take the bus, walk and bike to work, but they're also providing parking spaces in Ann Arbor’s new underground parking garage.

Hankins said the company had to slow its hiring at the other space because there simply was no room. With the expanded office, he said three new employees plan to start Monday and the company is actively seeking additional hires in various departments. (Apply here)

Heiney said 300 to 400 employees could eventually be working out of the Maynard office, which he calls “way cooler” than California.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Dug Song

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:56 a.m.

Congrats guys!


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 12:15 a.m.

can you spell GREAT for them at least.the taxpayers maybe not so much.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

Where's the love for Casey's and Gandy Dancer and other neighborhood establishments?

Dug Song

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:55 a.m.

I guarantee we'll be spending a lot more time at both, once we move Duo Security into its new digs a block from Zingermans. We quadrupled our team this year, and the old Bay Design store (like the Tech Brewery) will be full.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 7:38 p.m.

Nice article, thanks for letting the community know about the good news!

Lizzy Alfs

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

Thank you!


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

I worked in that building years ago when it held a satellite office of ISR - it looks much, much nicer now, good job! Still, here's hoping they have dealt with issues of exhaust fumes from the parking structure and ally seeping into the building. I also recall that at one point there were very high radon levels in the lower level, so maybe don't hang out by the kegerator playing pinball too much.

music to my ear

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

what a spacious area to work in ,nice views of Ann Arbor, Of course I would like my job better if it were there


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

I can understand the need for windows, but it's a shame that they destroyed the "ant mural" to put them in.

Maynard Maynardington

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

They destroyed the original brick for windows only to black them out with dark tint anyways is what it looks like.

Lizzy Alfs

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

They did keep the ant mural on the side of the building. The one in back they had to cut into for the windows. Without the windows, it would have been a bit depressing in there!

Ron Granger

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

Awesome! But.. Those guys in the cube bullpen - they're still packed like sardines! If two people lean back in their chairs simultaneously, they'll collide! Is there some sort of Multi Chair Congestion-control Protocol to arbitrate?

music to my ear

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

but other area are spacious.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

Most every place in the world is "way cooler" than California. Death Valley is one of the hotest places on the planet. Glad to have more techriche people in town. Forget about the windows, if the elevator number is less than 13 they will serve little purpose in the coming darkness of bubbletown.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

Oh, yippie.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

They wanted to "urbanize" the space? Well I guess windows with a view of the alley is just the thing then.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

How about a pix of the outside of the bldg?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

The place looks very nice. Good luck to them! Now if only they were hiring for positions I qualify for. ;)

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

Congratulations Barracuda! Nice new digs and the design is perfection. I can think of a few basement dwellers that could take a hint.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

Yeah, where's all the wires hanging from the ceiling and stuff?