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 user 2008-11-26 at 2:06:25 pm Views: 80
  • #20668,0,2004360
    Office Depot’s new $100 million headquarters in Boca Raton is designed to foster interaction
    17 years in Delray Beach, the nation’s largest office-supplies retailer
    built a $100 million corporate headquarters less than three miles away
    in Boca Raton.The first of about 2,000 employees began moving in
    earlier this month, and the arrivals will continue through the first
    week of December.Office Depot’s new concrete structure rises above
    Military Trail at Clint Moore Road, overlooking a golf course.
    Employees now are housed in one building instead of three, as they were
    on Old Germantown Road and Congress Avenue in Delray Beach.The company
    considered moving out of South Florida but “we felt we would suffer a
    tremendous loss of talent if we moved away,” said David Fannin, former
    general counsel who served as project manager for the new
    headquarters.The new home office has been more than two years in
    planning. A previous site, at Blue Lake in Boca Raton, was scrapped in
    October 2004, and that property was sold back to the developer.

    another Boca Raton site became available in 2006, and Office Depot
    agreed to a “build to suit” proposal from Flagler Development Corp.,
    which owns the new building in a partnership with TIAA-Cref, the
    teachers’ pension fund. Office Depot has a 15-year lease on the
    building, with options to extend.Office Depot sold its Delray Beach
    campus for $80 million to Lincoln Financial, an insurance firm based
    near Philadelphia.

    The new headquarters has a more flexible
    design so it can be reconfigured to accommodate either Office Depot’s
    future needs or a new tenant.”From an economic standpoint, it’s not a
    real burden,” said Fannin, though he admitted the new headquarters was
    an easier decision in November 2006, when Office Depot’s stock was
    trading above $41 a share. The stock has plummeted this year, along
    with many consumer stocks. It closed Tuesday on the New York Stock
    Exchange at $1.93.

    A new corporate home gives Office Depot the
    opportunity to ensure work groups are together and encourages
    brainstorming.A wide hallway runs the length of the building and
    overlooks the golf course of Broken Sound Country Club. Along the
    hallway are “huddle” areas, with casual chairs and tables, where
    employees can chat. Or, they can book one of the many conference
    rooms.”We want to encourage people from all disciplines to interact
    with their peers,” Fannin said. “When you look at the most creative
    companies in the world, the key is openness and interaction.”

    features Fannin considers an improvement are high-speed elevators, a
    cafeteria with an outdoor patio to take advantage of South Florida’s
    sunny days, and standard-size offices and workstations so no one is
    fighting over the “corner office.”"It is not a Taj Mahal,” said Fannin,
    responding to some employees’ reaction to a grandiose structure in
    frugal economic times. “Several of the executives have smaller offices
    than they had at the former headquarters, and they’re all
    uniform.”Employees also will find new amenities in the building:
    covered parking, a gym with exercise equipment and pilates classes, and
    “mothers’ rooms,” for women who are breast-feeding.The interior decor
    comes right from an Office Depot store — paper clips and shredded paper
    are enclosed in partition walls. “Fun facts,” such as “who invented the
    power calculator,” adorn the walls.

    Phil Rault, an analyst for
    merchandising, said the difference between the old and new building is
    unbelievable. “It’s easier to find people, to schedule a meeting,” he
    said.Though his workstation is “a little tighter,” Derek Sall likes the
    sunlight the building lets in.”I didn’t know whether it was sunshine or
    raining,” in the former headquarters, said Sall, who also works in