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Take a look around your office space. Does it entice workers? Do they want to be there? Does it serve a purpose, beyond serving their employer?
For generations, the office had a sole use case – as a place to conduct work. In the 21st century, developers are revitalizing stagnant office space by re-evaluating the office’s purpose. The result? A redesign of the workplace to serve employees’ professional – and personal – needs. Workers are more engaged and productive, and companies who choose to relocate to these forward-thinking spaces become an employer of choice.
The Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRiC), taking shape where IBM researchers invented the personal computer, is hoping to change how work and space collaborate.
Crocker Partners, long-term prolific owner and developer of class A office space and mixed-use projects – and currently one of Florida’s largest office landlords – acquired the campus last year. Crocker’s prior mixed-use and innovative office space include the award-winning Mizner Park and iconic Boca Center (formerly Crocker Center), still considered by many as one of the first successful mixed-use projects in the United States.
“Employers and employees alike want workspaces that foster productive, creative energy that serves the blended professional and personal life of today’s worker,” said Angelo Bianco, managing partner of Crocker Partners. “BRiC presented a canvas for us to add amenities and redraw where workplace ends and lifestyle begins.”
With virtually limitless space, Bianco said his team will incorporate amenities and features to “make a Silicon Valley employer envious.”
An innovative past to build off of
“The campus certainly has sufficient ‘bones’ to build upon,” said Bianco. The office park was built back in the late 1960s to withstand a Category 5 hurricane with a 10-megawatt generator that can maintain power campus-wide for 13 days without refueling.
Recent renovations include a newly designed conference center with state-of-the-art A/V equipment, a catering kitchen, and a business center. The existing 1,000-seat campus dining hall doubles as a multipurpose space and a 7,000-square-foot fitness center is open to tenant employees and offers weekly, 30-minute boot camp classes during lunchtime.
The campus features an on-site, accredited daycare, as well as a designated tenant services coordinator, or concierge, who can sign for personal deliveries, make reservations, or arrange for dry cleaning, shoe repair, car detailing, and several other personalized amenities.
Bianco said the goal of the $90 million redevelopment plan is to change how workers and workplace interact.
Investing for tomorrow’s worker
When renovations are complete, Bianco said BRiC will elevate the concept of the workspace with an amenity corridor to encourage collaborative, open-office work. The space will be anchored by open-air coffee shops. One named Marcel Brewer, in honor of the original architect Marcel Breuer, the founder of Brutalist architecture, will overlook the fountain and courtyard with additional flex seating. The other coffee shop, Java, plays off the name of the programming language in addition to your cup of joe.
Java will also double as the Dorothy Gillespie Gallery, housing the artists’ work which will be donated by the Museum of Boca. Sculptures from the museum will also decorate the grand lawns encircling the building, the courtyard and lake. Integrating art into the fabric of the campus will continue with projects such as an interactive walking museum throughout the common areas of the building, with exhibits donated by museums, local galleries, and schools, and a museum focused on the history of technology in Boca Raton, paying homage to the work of IBM and others .
To encourage workplace wellness, an onsite wellness center will be staffed by a nurse practitioner and a physical therapist.
“The current companies here will continue to attract even more businesses focused on growth and innovation, helping to elevate Boca Raton's reputation as a center for high-tech innovation,” said Daniel Cane, CEO and co-founder of Modernizing Medicine, a provider of medical health records and informatics. “Our company has found its home in BRiC as it provides an ideal environment for our continued growth.”
Growing area companies is part of BRiC’s business plan, said Bianco. With Lynn University, Florida Atlantic University, and the Research Park at FAU less than a mile from campus, BRiC aims to help employers lure and retain qualified college graduates as well as technology and life sciences startups.
BRiC’s amenity package, location in southern Palm Beach County, and proximity to area commuter rails, highways, and airports, are what employers are seeking, said Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of Business Development Board of Palm Beach County.
“Their creative amenities are ideal for recruiting great talent from West Palm Beach to Miami,” said Smallridge, who works to lure companies to the region. “The physical layout of the space is so conducive collaboration and networking among like-minded companies and people elevating our stature as the place to locate.”
BRiC’s amenitization and renovation plan is scheduled for completion in early 2021.
“Our blueprint calls for advancing the forward-thinking innovation and vision IBM first brought to BRiC generations ago,” Bianco said. “Soon, BRiC will not only return to its former glory but will surpass it to become the tech and life sciences hub for the Southeastern United States, focused on providing an unparalleled work environment that will foster creativity and innovation and spur employee attraction and retention with a highly amenitized workplace that aims to re-balance people’s work-life balance.”