Boston Leads New Wave of Relocated Corporate Urban Settings
Amazon’s recent announcement that it’s soliciting bids from North American cities to be the home of a second corporate headquarters is yet another reminder that today’s knowledge-intensive companies crave the energy, diversity and youthfulness of modern urban areas.
In Boston, companies like GE, Vertex and Reebok are flocking to neighborhoods like the Seaport, creating trendy, modern offices and other amenities that – in turn – attract millennial job applicants.
In April 2015, Converse moved its corporate headquarters from the suburb of North Andover to Boston’s North Station area with the goal of attracting young, creative talent. The company occupies 214,000 square feet of office space at Lovejoy Wharf, near TD Garden and close to both commuter rail and the T.
The 10-story office’s full glass windows and its outdoor decks provide a great view of the waterfront and the Charles River. The building itself celebrates the company’s creative culture by combining its original old brick walls with a new open design concept. It also has an open atrium complete with a central staircase connecting all floors.
A 3,500sf Converse store – its second retail store in Boston – is located right at LoveJoy Wharf as well, in addition to a Converse Rubber Tracks recording studio. By incorporating each of the modern design elements of the building and office space, as well as the retail store and recording studio, Converse was able to create a modish, creative work environment that represents the Converse brand and attracts the kind of high-level, well-educated and youthful workforce it requires.
Like Converse, General Electric is in the process of moving its headquarters as well from the suburbs – Fairfield, Connecticut – to fast-growing Fort Point, the unofficial entrance to the Seaport. The company is now in the process of creating its own campus called Innovation Point, renovating two existing six-story warehouses and constructing a new 12-story building. The new building will have a modern design with a solar veil incorporated on its façade, showcasing its commitment to sustainability and environmentally friendly business practices. A Harborwalk extension and public dock will provide outdoor enjoyment for employees and other citygoers.
The headquarters campus is not exclusively for GE employees – it also includes workspace for local startups and students, space for community presentations, and more. For GE, the move to Boston enables the company to do just what Converse seeks to do – tap into the city’s educated workforce and dynamic innovation ecosystem
Reebok is leaving its long-time Canton location to move even deeper into the Seaport area, building a new headquarters at the Innovation and Design building. As seen in renderings, the facility will feature plenty of open space and natural lighting. White, black and gray tones throughout the office space will give the space a modern and innovative feel to the former warehouse building.
Reebok is taking the amenities one step further. In keeping with its brand identity, it will offer a two-story gym, a mile-long running track around the building, a retail store and more. They’re dubbing the new HQ the “Home of Fitness.” In this way, Reebok will find yet another way to attract a new workforce of millennials that supports their brand as both an experience and a lifestyle choice.
The desire for Massachusetts companies to shift their corporate jobs into the city and create state-of-the-art office spaces seems likely to continue, as more and more companies try to tap Boston’s rich educational and cultural resources. Ultimately this allows large corporations to compete with other companies and startups in the city by embracing the notion that employees prefer to live, work and play within the same approximate vicinity. This influx has yielded long-term durability in the urban construction markets, helping to feed our city’s building boom, a trend we certainly hope to see continue for the foreseeable future.