United Bank is a large community bank based in Connecticut, and a long-term client of Solidus.
With the client we investigated two potential properties for a new headquarters in downtown Hartford that was to be designed and built based on the organization’s executive vision. Our architect worked on some rough layouts to determine how each space would work, and eventually the bank decided to take several floors in the Goodwin Square tower in downtown Hartford. Several months of planning and changes were spent, as Solidus worked with all the bank’s departments to generate the concept. The plan was to move about 250 people onto three of the four floors, and an additional 25 people onto the 26th floor, which is the executive floor. One major challenge for us was that the client planned to sub-lease their existing space, which meant a two-phase move-in deadline: Columbus Day weekend and Veterans’ Day, 2017.
Renovation of the 20th, 21st, 22nd and 26th floors were all necessary for this project. A spiral staircase connects three floors; the 20th, 21st and 22nd, enabling employees to move between floors internally without using elevators and making it really easy and efficient to get around.
During the design phase, it was decided to include United Bank University (training facility) in the project, which meant adding the 24th floor to the execution plan.
The first phase included extensive renovation work on the 26th and 22nd floors. These floors demanded high-end finishes from our designers and tradesmen. The 26th floor is shaped like an octagon (following the exterior shape of the tower itself), and it was extremely challenging to understand how we would integrate our design into that somewhat unconventional shape. We also had to bring in 1,300 50lb. bags of gypcrete to float the floor so that it would be level, because it was in poor condition after the previous tenant had tried to rip up the floor tile.
There are numerous conference rooms throughout the space, with various kinds of furniture and flat screen displays. Everything is highly integrated. There are small monitors (connected to the computers at Reception) outside each conference room displaying scheduled meetings. People can use the monitors to reserve conference rooms and see which times are currently available in each room. A huge amount of information technology and audio-visual infrastructure was built into the different floors. Each conference room is distinctive and stylish. An artist was commissioned to create some original pieces, including three in the lobby and one in each of the boardrooms.
The project started with 70,000 square feet, and then we added the 24th floor. The result is an absolutely stunning space that is modern, fresh, welcoming and highly functional. The elevator doors on the 22nd and 26th floors were given a stainless steel skin. The carpet was fitted and cut in place, to feature the bank’s color palette and sweeping branding features. It is sleek and formal in all areas, but employees can relax and charge electrical devices in the casual conferencing and touchdown stations.
There are two balconies on the 22nd floor, which Solidus worked to transform into sleek welcome/hangout areas for the bank’s clients and its employees. The level of aesthetics on both the 22nd and 26th floors is designed to impress. The client and employee balconies were fitted with new concrete and glass railings, new pavers, outdoor furniture and a bar. The employee lounge opens directly onto the beautiful employee balcony.
This large project achieved several goals. For the employees it’s a cool place to work, the executives of the bank are assured they’ll attract and retain talent through their leading edge approach, and Solidus is proud to have contributed to making a local institution even greater than it already was.
“We cannot specifically comment on the financial aspects of the project. However, from a business development, brand exposure and employee engagement perspective, we’re witnessing a strong return on our investment thanks to the successful design and build out of our Corporate Offices.” — Melissa Etheridge, Project Manager, United Bank
“What is great is that I have a very strong relationship with Mark Charette. Whenever there was a roadblock to progress of any kind, Mark would get right on it and make sure it was resolved immediately, which is important on a project of this scale." — Eric Newell, CFO, United Bank