AECOM Technology Corp. has acquired the Schaumberg, Ill., and Houston offices of design-builder The Austin Co. Under the agreement AECOM will operate the offices under the name Austin AECOM and combine them with its existing design-build contractor, Chicago-based McClier Corp.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The Austin Co. will continue to operate U.S. offices in its base city of Cleveland as well as in Atlanta, Kansas City and Irvine, Calif. Austin Co. President Pat Flanagan says it was worth divesting a portion of the company in the asset sale in order to work with giant, Los Angeles-based AECOM.

What form that may take remains unclear. Ken Terpin, Austin AECOM’s president and former head of McClier, says the firms may form a strategic alliance.

McClier employs about 200 people but the addition of the Austin offices brings the combined staff to 375. McClier was originally founded by ex-staffers from Austin, which is the oldest design-build contractor in the country. It had combined design and construction revenues in 2003 of $450 million.

Industrial construction has been slow in recent years but now has shown some signs of picking up. Both AECOM and Austin serve the aviation, food, drug and newspaper industries, among others.

Michael Pierce, an Austin senior vice president, says AECOM’s services in newspaper plants were stronger "on the front end" while Austin had better services in implementation. Austin’s deal with the larger firm makes sense, he says, partly because Austin "is a niche firm" with many longtime employees.