Former Avenue Edit clan forms The Colonie

Although it isn’t officially open for business, commercial work has been pouring into The Colonie, the new editing house formed by three Avenue Edit veterans in mid-October.

The Grand Opening party will rock in January, when staffing and facility is completed, said editor Brian Sepanik, equal partner with executive producer Mary Caddy and editor Bob Ackerman.

The Colonie’s staff of 10 occupies 4,000-sq. ft. of newly modeled space “that we are 100% happy with,” noted Sepanik. Their location, in the heart of Chicago’s postproduction center, is ideally situated for their new business model.

“We feel we’re moving in the right direction by being small and flexible, hiring freelancers as needed and using the resources in town,” said Sepanik, a 12-year Avenue veteran. “We want to stay lean and manage jobs quickly.”

The Colonie was more than a year in development, starting in mid-summer of 2007, when they began voicing their growing dissatisfaction with the direction Avenue was heading under new ownership. At the same time, they were being pursued by their competitors as Avenue sputtered along.

In the end, they decided “the best choice for all of us was to make a go of it together,” said Caddy, The Colonie’s co-managing director, who had been an Avenue mainstay for 17 years.

“We’d been spoiled by the good Rick Ledyard days,” Caddy said. “We wanted to take the best of that and our experience to create a company to meet the challenges of today’s changing advertising environment; to be modular, to address the multi-faceted needs required.”

Two months of space remodeling from top to bottom

Last May, the trio found ideal space at 610 N. Fairbanks, which coincidentally had been Outsider’s former facility, in the heart of Chicago’s postproduction hub close to allied services they might need.

The space had been empty for two years following Outsider’s departure, except for six months when the Wachowskis shot “Speed Racer” there, before they moved to their new studio in Ravenswood.

The Colonie’s new owners a signed seven-year lease in August and started the remodeling, literally, from floor to ceiling. The old floor was ripped out and new hardwood flooring installed, and “transoms were cut in some rooms to make it open and bright and as cheery as possible,” said Sepanik.

Outsider’s original center machine core remained in place. The old kitchen was replaced by a new, bigger one.

The new space accommodates five Avid suites, a Smoke suite, four Final Cut pro and graphics design stations.

On staff, in addition to the partners, are editor Joe Clear, a seven-year Avenue veteran, two assistants, producer Ann Siwek another Avenue alum, and receptionist Amanda Corbett from Outsider.

The Colonie’s first business came from Hallmark and Philip Morris with Bob Ackerman, who’d spent 10 years at Avenue, and Sepanik’s work for the Chicago 2016 Committee, followed by a tide of new projects.

To accommodate current business and future expectations, the hiring of a fourth editor will be announced shortly and “a few more assistants will be hired down the road,” Sepanik said.

The Colonie’s phone is 312/255-1234. See