One Workplace, Redevelopment Case Study: Surplus Building at Operating Paper Mill Converted to Award-Winning Corporate Headquarters and Showroom

Opportunity

Sometimes, companies have properties that they aren’t fully using or may not need. In this case, the owner of an older property with an active paper mill did not need a significant portion of the facility.

Challenge

The building was functionally obsolete, in disrepair and situated on a single parcel shared with the operating paper mill. The property showed poorly even though it was in an attractive infill location.

Property

One Workplace

Location

Santa Clara, California United States

Size

202,000 square feet

Corporate Headquarters, Showroom and Distribution Center

9.45 acres

Solution

The owner decided to dispose of a warehouse building while retaining and operating the paper mill. The first challenge was to figure out how to divide the property so that both the original owner and the new one could operate effectively without subdividing. Subdivision would have entailed upgrades to existing facilities. The development team partnered with the City of Santa Clara to pursue a condominium mapping approach that facilitated separate ownership of the structures and shared ownership of the land, subject to covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) to manage common services and parking areas.

Flexibility and cooperation were key throughout the process. Design and construction of improvements on both sides of the deal had to be concurrent due to users’ time constraints. Design discussions and value engineering meetings helped to keep the spirit of this complicated but creative deal alive. In response to strict C3 storm water run-off requirements, an innovative system was installed to use storm water from roofs to irrigate landscaped areas. The development team installed energy-saving lighting and equipment, upgraded the fire sprinkler system, installed 20 new truck doors and depressed docks, and transformed old warehouse space into state-of-the-art creative offices.

With raised floors, modular furniture and demountable partitions, the project’s interior design is flexible, modern and appealing.

Lesson

Approach situations with an open mind. Identify issues and define solutions without trying to squeeze the development approach into a preconceived template.

Awards and Nominations

  • 2015 ULI Global Award for Excellence finalist
  • Interior Design Magazine Best of 2013
  • Designboom Architecture and Design Top 10 Workplaces in the World
  • Silicon Valley Business Journal Structures Award 2013 finalist
  • Turnstone Top Workplaces in the World

Related Features