After the JC Penney department store closed its location in the failing Military Circle Mall, the City of Norfolk decided to pursue different uses for the space. Through a partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City, Movement Mortgage, one of the fastest growing mortgage companies, chose the location for its operations center.
Work Program Architects transformed the first floor of the vacant space into a contemporary, open office for 800 employees.
The design converted a building with an internal focus — no windows and primary entrances oriented toward the internal mall and remote ends of the building — to an external focus. This was achieved through making large openings in the exterior façade, replacing blank brick veneer and concrete masonry unit walls with large portions of glass curtainwall. These new openings bring natural light deep into the space, making a visual connection from the exterior to the interior and to the work activity happening within.
The style and aesthetic of Movement Mortgage’s new office follow that of the company’s headquarters located in Indian Land, S.C. The industrial feel of featured wood tones, exposed ceilings, and the company’s distinctive red brand, add a sense of energy and strength to the atmosphere.
Special features include a two-story entrance outfitted with a suspended public art sculpture that can be seen from the highway, new elevators, a café, and outdoor seating.
The building was created to accommodate multiple tenants, thus the overall building envelope and common spaces are designed to provide a singular identity, while being neutral enough to support the unique branding of individual tenants, such as Movement Mortgage.
The design team was challenged by an accelerated schedule and tight budget. All project stakeholders were brought in early to allow the entire team to work together to pro-actively address issues and improve the quality of the project, including improving upon energy code requirements in the 47-year-old structure.
Project 824 earned the 2017 Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council.