By Carrie Rossenfeld | San Jose
SAN JOSE, CA—Capitalizing on California’s clement weather and creating an environment that looks and feels more like home are two of the goals of today’s West Coast creative-office buildings, Bill Halford, president and CEO of Bixby Land Co., tells GlobeSt.com. Bixby recently completed a $15-million construction project on THE Campus, a 250,000-square-foot, four-building office park on the northwest corner of Trimble Rd. and Orchard Pkwy. here, that sets a new standard for creative campuses in Silicon Valley.
One of the elements that distinguish the Campus from other creative-office properties is the free-flowing circulation between building interiors as well as beautifully appointed outside areas. This is achieved through full-height windows and overhead doors that reveal interior work spaces to the signature “Bixby Retreat,” a grouping of inviting outdoor communal areas for informal meetings, collaboration, team building, dining and recreation. Studio G Architects of Campbell, CA, designed the project.
The Campus is the third major office-park repositioning by Bixby in the Silicon Valley in the past two years. The first was an office-campus renovation in Santa Clara completed in May 2012, which was leased immediately upon completion to Infoblox, and the second was a 165,000-square-foot office campus on River Oaks Parkway in San Jose that is now occupied by Nimble Storage. Bixby is currently putting the finishing touches on a five-story office building redesign in El Segundo and has purchased two Orange County office buildings that will be developed into contemporary multi-tenant office projects.
“The first project we did was in 2011, and it was the entrée into doing something interesting with outdoor space and making that a big feature of the real estate,” says Halford. “Nobody was doing it then. It got project of the year in Silicon Valley, the tenant it was leased to had just gone public and it was all the rage. So we did another one that was three buildings, also with outdoor space—that was kind of a step up. This was our third, and we continue to expand the offering in terms of more outdoor area, more features of the outdoor space and more indoor/outdoor space.”
Amenities at the Campus extend outside the building to include communal areas for meetings, dining and recreation, and a bocce court.
In terms of Bixby’s evolution with creative space, Halford compares the Campus to version 3.0 of a software release. “The other developers have sort of tried to follow that trend, and we are trying to stay one step ahead of them. Most of the other developments have tried to pay attention to that notion and tried to knock it off, and each time we keep taking it a step further. The Campus is far in excess of what anybody has done up there. I think we’re demonstrating that this is what people want to buy.”
Halford points out that when tenants consider creative-office space, they are less concerned about details that real estate executives take into account like window line, ceiling height and floorplate size and are more concerned about how the space makes them and their employees feel. “They say, ‘Will my employees like it?’ and ‘Is it interesting enough to where I can use it as a recruiting and retention tool?’ The other stuff is really arcane and isn’t what users want anymore. What’s most desirable is being in the right geographic area and how the space functions. Is it livable? Is it more like your house than an office building? Does it make work enjoyable and create an environment where employees want to be there and collaborate?”
The Bixby Retreat concept is really an outdoor living room that extends the interior work environment to the outdoors, Halford adds. “Since you’re in California, why would you want to be stuck in an office building?”