Integrating indoor and outdoor space is another repositioning strategy applied in both urban and suburban locations. At One Rogers Street, a Class A office building in tech-centric Cambridge, Mass., an ambitious rebranding program transformed a former corporate headquarters into a multi-tenant technology center.
“The building had a serious identity crisis in the broker community and with potential tenants,” recalls Kevin Stubbs, director of architecture and engineering for Principal Real Estate Investors, the building’s owners. “We had a property known only as a former headquarters. It was seen as two separate buildings and had two addresses. The lobby and courtyard were underutilized and dated, to say the least.”
Principal and CBT undertook a comprehensive strategic plan to evaluate the market opportunities and review options for a repositioning program that would help attract the target demographic: life science, R&D, technology and consulting firms. From this planning, a big idea emerged: By treating the large courtyard space as an integral extension of the lobby, the brand identity could be dramatically changed by creating a destination filled with life, color and light.
Today, the interiors at One Rogers are flooded with daylight. A reflective back-painted glass wall and a nature-inspired, LED-lit wood feature combine to increase the lobby’s depth and height while mirroring the external elevations of the building. A popular café and fitness center extend to the east connecting all key public spaces. Exterior courtyard seating expands the lobby experience outdoors.
“CBT tailored the program to meet the demographic future by providing an edgier look and feel with simple, clean lines and a green-oriented image. It’s a home run for us,” Stubbs says. The repositioning has elevated the building among its competition, generated positive broker feedback, improved energy efficiency and increased the occupancy of technology-based companies.
Equity Office, with a portfolio that includes 70 million square feet of Class A office space in the United States, recently invested in a repositioning of 60 State Street, one of Boston’s most prominent office towers. Built in the 1970s, the lobby suffered from its small size and lack of natural light.
“We invited input from tenants on what they wanted to see, and learned how important the lobby image is when they decide to lease or renew,” says John Conley, senior vice president of asset management for Equity. “Our goal was to attract more tech companies who can appreciate the building, plus keep the tried-and-true companies that have always been downtown. Today we have a broad range of tenants looking
at the building, including everyone from digital advertising firms to traditional financial service companies.”
As collaboration and social experience become more important to tenants, office buildings can finally unbutton those starched collars and become beloved destinations for all generations. By taking a strategic approach to implementing high-impact renovations, designers can provide solutions that alter perceptions, advance brand identity, and improve a building’s revenue and market value.
Haril Pandya, AIA, LEED AP is a principal at CBT Architects in Boston with two decades of experience planning and designing corporate, hospitality, mixed-use and retail projects. He specializes in the strategic rebranding, repurposing and repositioning of urban and suburban commercial buildings.