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Forum Studio and Bates are merging, the companies announced Friday, creating the largest architectural firm in the region.

Forum Studio is a subsidiary of Chicago-based Clayco, and the combined company will be 50 percent owned by Clayco and 50 percent owned by Bates' partners. The combined company will be called BatesForum and will be headquartered in St. Louis.

“This is an incredible opportunity for the Bates and Forum teams to gain instant synergy in technology exchange, building talent and to partner with the Clayco companies’ fully integrated delivery process," Clayco CEO Bob Clark said in a statement.

Forum's chairman and senior principal Chris Cedergreen is retiring but will assist in the transition. The merger is expected to close within eight weeks.

The combined firm, led by president Steve Warlick and chief operating officer Kapil Khanna, will have more than 200 employees with offices in St. Louis, Chicago, Springfield, Mo.;, Bentonville, Ark.; and San Francisco.

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