A feat to compete.
Hustle, buzz, entertainment and options: the draw of downtown office settings is no secret to today’s workers. But what does the migration of corporations moving from suburban to urban locations mean for buildings on the outskirts of town? Time to compete. Suburban office buildings are having to work harder to attract and retain quality tenants. For West End Center – a prominent building cornering Highway 100 and 394, just outside of Minneapolis – occupancy levels hovered around 50% for several years. The need to compete became evident.
Our design team quickly identified and prioritized design opportunities. Starting with the approach, visitors were met by an uninviting concrete façade with narrow ribbon windows. An overstated staircase led to a lackluster lobby. Deep floor plates with low ceilings couldn’t be reached by the light of day while dated décor throughout offered little to entice visitors and employees. Our comprehensive renovation plan took shape and envisioned a revived sense of place.
With fifty percent of the existing façade replaced with metal panels and glass, the exterior update transforms the building dramatically. And not just for the look. By replacing the ribbon windows with ten-foot tall glass panels, daylight now reaches through to the deepest parts of the building. A corner glass feature also provides light and dynamic views of downtown Minneapolis. The entry is more inviting as well. Once hidden atop a massive concrete stair, the front door embraces a welcoming plaza, offering a sunny respite filled with seating and native plant material for all users.
Reflective glass, clean lines and warm textures of the exterior continue to the interiors. Walnut planks and venetian plaster walls juxtapose polished concrete floors and an exposed ceiling. A cozy fireplace, residential inspired furniture and a large LED media wall in the lobby greet visitors. Entry and floor lobbies, along with corridor renovations incorporate a variety of seating areas with informal meeting spaces, offering touchdown space and workplace variety. A “showroom floor” aids prospective tenants by providing an integrated decision-making experience, with the ability to see and feel the opportunity of the space.
The renovations at West End Office Park have made a tremendous impact on the building’s business. The refreshed space is yielding top-of-market lease rates and is boasting quality tenants. The once stuck-in-the-sixties office has put suburban site options back on the map and into the realm of corporate consideration.