Construction firm Balfour Beatty unveiled its renewed office space on the third and sixth floors of the Citymark building on McKinnon Street — roughly 45,000 square feet smaller than the five office floors they occupied during their previous lease inside the same building — during a recent open house.
“We realized we were wasting square footage. It segregated any kind of business,” says Director of Preconstruction Kevin Parr.
Under its previous lease terms, Balfour Beatty occupied five floors filled with large, costly offices that prioritized privacy over communication. Partially enclosed cubicles divided the company’s several groups. In 2018, at roughly 200 employees, such a setup made for empty space and meetings held in employees’ offices rather than established conference areas.
The company renewed its lease at 3100 McKinnon St. in Uptown at the close of 2019, opting to remain headquartered in Dallas because of its proximity to firms like JLL, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, and major architect and designer firms.
“We can look at going further and north, but it kind of pushed us out of where most of our clients are,” Parr says.
The construction firm, represented by CBRE, negotiated a smaller space and remodel into their new lease, which began in 2018. Now, with roughly 45,000 fewer square feet, new finishes, and an open office floor plan, Balfour Beatty’s education, large projects, and special modules teams mingle more regularly and enjoy redesigned conference and cafeteria spaces.
“We’re finding that we work together now more than ever,” Parr says.
Balfour Beatty headed up the majority of the project themselves — shelling the entire third floor for the renovations —and hired global interior design and architecture firm Corgan to assist with finishes.
“We took the carpet and the planks to kind of add some blue to it,” says Parr. “The rest of the finishes, we pulled things that were not neutral but would pop without being outside of our range.” The space’s minimal décor and neutral wall and desk coloring is a testament to the company’s approach.
But where the construction firm’s primary focus for their office space was to downsize and facilitate internal communication, the goals for their meeting spaces and reception area were a much higher priority.
“We wanted to force a lot of our money into our meeting spaces … and then the lobby and reception,” Parr says.
The company has added several small huddle and phone rooms and a few larger conference rooms to their office layout, making internal training programs and client meetings simple. A small, but welcoming, reception area greets clients and guests, while a redone breakroom features partitions that convert a cafeteria space into a large meeting room where town hall meetings take place. Large windows line most edges of the office let in ample sunlight and offer views of neighboring Uptown and downtown.
Since the remodel, the firm has added roughly 100 employees, a growth that Parr attributes in part to the internal reset that accompanied the updates.
“The market is great, but I would tell you the recommitment to what we do well [is what fueled our growth],” he says.
Two years ago, Balfour Beatty was spreading its teams thin, accepting projects in places such as Oklahoma and Arkansas that displaced and exhausted teams for long periods. With the renewal of their lease, the company had an opportunity to renew its values and focus on its mission statement.
“It just kind of all happened at the same time,” Parr says. “We kind of came back to our core business and focused on the basics and what we do well. [Since then,] I think there’s been this tremendous re-emergence of our growth patterns.”