Innovative Renovation for a Mid-Century Modern Office Building – 444 W Ocean
Ensemble has a proven history of successfully reinventing high-profile commercial developments. The latest is 444 West Ocean in Downtown Long Beach, which now stands as one of the best examples of a new office environment for today’s changing needs and tenant expectations.
“Our goal was to not only elevate the building’s brand in the local market, but also to introduce a fresh, creative and truly differentiating design aesthetic that would appeal to a broader spectrum of prospective tenants and their employees,” says Roni Gould, who oversees asset management and leasing for Ensemble’s commercial projects in Southern California. “We wanted to enhance the best qualities of the classic 15-story office tower built in 1967. Given the building’s mid-century roots as well as the market’s growing appreciation for modern design and collaborative spaces, our idea was to recast the building as one that expresses a timeless new take on the mid-century modern style.”
The renovation of 444 West Ocean was extensive, including many cosmetic enhancements as well as a number of behind-the-scenes mechanical upgrades. In addition to the sleek, ‘60s-era overall design, many notes of “whimsy and fun” were incorporated throughout the office setting so coming to work for employees would never feel like drudgery. For instance, the building’s lobby is a clean and contemporary space featuring retro light fixtures as well as a ‘60s-era phone booth that is actually an aquarium teeming with tropical fish. The adjacent Club Room is a private lounge for the tenants with flat-screen TVs, free WiFi, comfortable couches and retro arcade games such as Pac-Man. “Today’s business owners and employees expect creative environments that fuse work with places to collaborate or just relax,” continues Roni Gould. “The Club Room is an inspiring place to have a break, socialize with colleagues, play video games, or even kick back with a laptop and get some work done.”
The inspiration continues on the floors above, where Mad Men-esque placards adorn the doors of the men’s and women’s restrooms and modern art is featured in the corridors. Splashes of whimsy even reach the underground parking garage; a graphic artist was commissioned to create bold, colorful wall graphics in a ‘60s style with a reflection of the downtown Long Beach skyline in the lens of a pair of sunglasses.
The much-loved Long Beach coffee purveyor and eatery, Aroma di Roma Café, has opened Aroma di Roma Centro, which occupies the ground-floor space adjacent to the Club Room, providing a convenient spot for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon latte. The café provides yet another creative space away from the office, including a laid-back urban terrace complete with a low-profile, outdoor fire-pit encircled by colorful sofas and patio furniture imported from Italy.
A bold transformation two years in the making, the new 444 West Ocean is clearly resonating with the broader market—from traditional companies such as lawyers and shipping firms, to the full spectrum of creative businesses driving Southern California’s economy. In fact, according to a recent real estate report, the Downtown Long Beach Class B absorption rate totaled 34,000 square feet for the city—with 27,000 square feet of it attributed to 444 West Ocean.
For leasing opportunities contact Robert Garey, Cushman & Wakefield, at 562-276-1409
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