IPConfigure, Inc., a 21st-century video surveillance and research and development software company in Norfolk, renovated a historic building for its new headquarters. The old Dubin Metals Building on Bowdens Ferry Road, constructed c. 1938, originally served as an acetylene gas manufacturing facility during World War II. Later, it housed a metals recycling business. The original structure and subsequent additions yield a total building footprint of more than 28,000 SF.
IPConfigure has occupied a portion of the building as its new headquarters and left the remaining space available for complementary tenants who will push technology and placemaking for the neighborhood. The overall development, Norfolk Colony, is looking for multiple tenants for other pieces of the building to take advantage of the large outdoor space and help support revitalization efforts in the Lambert’s Point neighborhood.
Knowledge workers at IPConfigure occupy the historic portion of the building. Assembly of cameras takes place in a newer metal addition. An original loading dock canopy welcomes visitors into the building and an “Experience Center,” with a coffee shop, allows visitors can see products in use. Skylights and new light fixtures cast a warm glow on the reception area when filtered through new wood slats installed in the steel canopy. A new steel staircase leads up to the original tower. What once was a testing ground for acetylene gas is now a break room and lounge.
One of the biggest draws for the owner, Chris Uiterwyk, was the surrounding tranquil green space. “People can’t sit all day and write software code. They need to get outside.” This will be an important factor in recruiting and retaining employees. “We compete with Google and Microsoft,” he says. “This will be a place to work that doesn’t feel like work.”