2.5 min read
By Mae Copeland
Many large companies' headquarters are set high above New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago in buildings that scrape the sky. We've all seen these spaces–rows of corporate cubbyhole spaces, low ceilings, fluorescent lighting, and predictable elevator lobbys. But now, companies are flipping the script and moving their office spaces to open campuses and pre-existing industrial warehouses.
That’s exactly what URBN, Inc. did. The company that owns Urban Outfitters, Free People, and Anthropologie (to name a few) was previously spread across six different buildings throughout downtown Philadelphia until they packed up and anchored at the Philly Navy Yard. Now situated on their new campus, the entire company is together in one place. With that brings the opportunity to treat their work family the way they deserve with cafeterias, gyms, and a mass transit system. But that’s not all that makes the Navy Yard an appealing space for URBN.
Companies are discovering that in order to attract, recruit, and retain the best crop of workers, they have to provide an insanely great working environment. No more uninteresting corporate cubbyholes with florescent lighting. We’ve written in previous posts about the lucrative success of Chelsea Market, where retail, food, and attractive experiences are drawing in workers and corporations. The bottom line? Corporations are creating a new generation of inspired places to work. And it's a good business model.
So what makes the Navy Yard such an inspiring place to work? Well, it starts with its authentic origin – it's a navy yard. It once served as a shipbuilding and repair facility before being decommissioned in 1996, beginning its new chapter as a business campus. With over 12,000 acres of dynamic, industrial workspace positioned on the Delaware River waterfront, the Navy Yard is an urban refit development that is now home to 165 companies and 13,500 employees - not just URBN people.
We’re of course seeing this same concept happening for global companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and more. Just on a much larger scale. Uh, can anyone say Amazonia? Furthermore, warehouses and industrial spaces are proving to be great conditions for start ups and creative businesses as well.
The open air environment makes for easy collaboration with peers. Inspiring design inspires productivity. They even say that tall ceilings lift your spirit. So if you're in a space with 40+ foot ceilings, imagine how high your employees’ spirits can go.
And you don’t have to be an employee to experience the Navy Yard. Walking tours are available, there is a food truck village, and one of URBN’s buildings is completely open to the public. Anyone is welcome to come in and enjoy the cafeteria, coffee shop, stunning architecture, and the community they have built.
So, ask us again what makes the Philly Navy Yard the ideal location for URBN’s headquarters. Soaring ceilings, exposed brick and concrete, and natural light that inspires their workers to think bigger and more creatively and be excited to walk into the office. What’s not to like?