RealPage: A One-Stop Shop for Clients and Staff
The Dallas area has seen a wave of office relocations and expansions in recent years. Topping the list as one of the largest is web-based property management company RealPage, who moved into a new headquarters in the Lakeside Campus in Richardson, Texas.
With four floors and 400,000sf renovated by Structure Tone Southwest, the new office aims to help the company meet the same goal for its employees that it does for its customers: to be a one-stop shop for their needs. In other words, while their clients can come to them for anything related to managing rental properties, their employees can come to the office not only to work, but also to eat in the full-service dining areas, exercise in the fitness center or take a break in the game room.
“We centered the office on the concept of ‘work, live and play.’ It’s almost like a planned community, connected through neighborhoods and a very open and collaborative environment,” says Sandy Seaton, vice president of real estate and workplace solutions for RealPage.
That neighborhood environment includes over 2,000 work stations of varying shapes and sizes, 155 private offices, conference rooms, break-out spaces and break rooms, with a central community area that houses the work café, fitness center and other amenities. “We needed to figure out how to make a 420,000-square-foot floor plate more intimate,” Seaton says.
Men of steel
And they needed to do it fast: The project team had only a quick six months to fit out the extensive complex to meet RealPage’s move-in date. “It kind of turned into a design/build project,” says Structure Tone Southwest project manager, Ryan Davis. “We had to coordinate as often as possible with the owner, the design team and our subs to work through design changes quickly, work through RFIs in real time and look ahead at the next phases to head off any challenges.”
One of those challenges was installing all the steel the design required within an existing building. The steel was particularly crucial for two signature features: the unique monumental staircase and the 16 floating conference rooms.
The double-helix staircase that winds three floors together is one of a kind. “We thought if this staircase is going to be a centerpiece, let’s make it an iconic conversation starter since it’s the first thing you see when you walk in,” Seaton says. Designed by HGA Architects, the resulting intertwined sets of stairs was special ordered, which meant added lead times and communication from all sides.
“There was only one vendor in the country who could bend the tube steel, which bends on two different axes and totals over 120,000 pounds,” Davis says. Supporting that weight involved driving a 27-foot pier—which is no easy task in an existing building. To solve the space challenge, the team used a spider crane, which essentially folds up to fit through a 3-foot doorway and then unfolds to full size to lift the massive pieces of steel.
Steel was also central to the so-called “floating” meeting rooms, which appear suspended in midair thanks to large steel beams anchored into the existing floor plate and cantilevered over the lobby space. Again, the spider crane was critical. “We don’t often have to install large amounts of steel in existing buildings,” says Structure Tone Southwest superintendent Bobby Moore. “The spider crane certainly came in handy, and I think we’ll be seeing more of this use of interior steel in downtown remodeling.”
Eyes on everything
With so many moving parts happening at once— and the move-in deadline fast approaching—the Structure Tone team decided to boost their manpower by dedicating more experts to each component of the job, from the steel installation, to the kitchen and fitness center renovations, to bringing in mission critical team experts for MEP consultation. “As we got each design revision, we made sure someone was dedicated to each area to expedite the changes and make sure everything stayed safe and on schedule,” says Davis. “We had over 450,000 man hours with no safety incidents. We had eyes on everything.”
That all-hands-on-deck approach paid off. RealPage was able to move in on time and settle into their striking new space, which was even featured in local business media. And for the construction team, the experience cemented a bond that the team still draws on today, says Moore.
“This was a complex job, but the teamwork and camaraderie that we built to get it done was awesome, and it made it even more fun.”
The RealPage team agrees. “We’re seeing the proof of how much people like the space in how they are using the work café, the fitness center, the conference rooms, and how people are starting to feel comfortable to leave their desks and work elsewhere,” says Seaton. “We didn’t have that flexibility before.”
Size: 400,000sf/4 floors
Architect: HGA Architects
Owner’s Rep: Cushman & Wakefield
STO Services: Construction Management
Completion: September 2016
Photography by Kevin Bowens.