Forest City.

Cleveland, Ohio

Project Overview.

Forest City moved its headquarters to Key Tower, occupying six floors following an extensive restructuring of the publicly traded real estate business. Prior to the move, Forest City was a much different organization occupying more than 240,000 SF at Terminal Tower.  However, as the firm’s business model shifted, so too did its need for a re-defined workplace to support the needs of its workforce today and into the future.

The architect’s Workplace Strategy team identified several challenges facing the organization in its current workplace setting.  Forest City’s communication amongst teams and individuals was fractured, due in part to Terminal Tower’s awkward floor plate that siloed individuals from one another and lacked social cohesion.  The existing work environment also featured a disproportionate number of private offices, which presented an additional challenge to overcome – the perceived need for privacy and confidentiality versus the real need for collaboration within the organization.

To address these challenges, the design team proposed a three-pronged approach to increase collaboration and promote social interactions within the firm.  To achieve these goals, the design provided for an open planning model that is buffered with shared and dedicated privacy, as well as adjusted departmental adjacencies to enhance workflow and communications. This strategy would help connect the diversity of experiences within the organization, help associates share knowledge and enable collaborative behaviors amongst the workforce.

The second strategy articulated the holistic reach of Forest City. The organization wanted to convey its ability to “walk the talk” by showcasing a workplace that is emblematic of the strength and quality of the Forest City portfolio. A new workplace set in a location that reflects the “work/live/play” balance Forest City develops in its real estate projects would also allow the firm to illustrate a strong commitment to its core values and exhibit connections to communities served. The design incorporates social hubs throughout to facilitate spontaneous collaboration and streamlined space assignments to fulfill workplace goals.

Lastly, the design team sought to implement purposeful space solutions to support Forest City’s business objectives by the application of consistent workplace design throughout.  The design provides Forest City with a wide variety of forward-thinking spaces that accommodate business needs now and into the future.  Likewise, associates experience consistent and recognizable navigation on all floors so they can travel easily to and from spaces within the workspace. Perhaps most notable is the activity-based planning model that formed the basis of all planning within the workplace. Individual assignment of private offices has been eliminated within the work environment, even for the most senior of leaders.

Moving to modern offices in Key Tower has allowed the organization to reduce its footprint by 40 percent, but more importantly provides Forest City the workplace that supports their redefined organization and allows them to succeed well into the future.