The development of Citizens Bank’s new Johnston, Rhode Island corporate campus represents a prime example of using real estate and the workplace environment to have a real impact on the company’s culture, as well as the surrounding community.
The 33-month development process – overseen by Cushman & Wakefield’s Project and Development Services team – will bring together many of Citizens Bank’s roughly 3,000 corporate Rhode Island employees.
The 123-acre build-to-suit complex will include five buildings with 424,673 square feet of space, including a new state-of-the-art call center, as well as a 1,263 space parking garage and additional surface lots.
Focus on Employee Wellness, Access, and Collaboration
To help promote employee wellness, the complex includes a café with nine different food options. In addition, the campus includes a wellness center, fitness center, two bocce courts, sand volleyball court, soccer field, baseball/softball field, two basketball courts, two tennis courts, and four walking/fitness loops.
“The campus includes Citizens’ first purpose built call center, a one-story building with open ceilings, exposed duct work, and abundant natural light,” said Steve Elias, Citizens SVP, Head of Workplace Delivery. “Citizens’ mission, vision, and values will be displayed throughout the space along with inspirational quotes and pops of color. Colleagues are encouraged to utilize the variety of collaboration and social spaces, or head outside to the patio and have a meeting around the fire pit.”
Partnership with local and federal transportation officials has also allowed for the construction of new highway ramps off of I-295, which will ease employee access to the new facility.
The employees who will call the new facility home are currently spread across three different office locations with a variety of designs and layouts. The new interior layouts use open office concepts while putting a focus on giving everyone access to natural light – with no employee sitting more than 45 feet from glass.
“There are many initiatives underway at Citizens geared toward improving the colleague experience, and the Johnston campus is probably one of the more tangible examples,” says Elias. “The campus is designed to provide our colleagues with a choice of work settings that help them do their best work. This includes spaces that support individual focus work, team collaboration, and offer opportunities to recharge. It’s also intentionally designed to promote movement throughout the day, and that concept extends to the outdoors via walking trails, recreation fields, and outdoor seating.”
In addition to the new, modern workspaces, the buildings themselves were also designed in collaboration with the company’s facility management team, allowing for easier maintenance operations throughout the life of the complex. Citizens’ Health and Safety team also collaborated with the architect on a Prevention trough Design process to create both a safer work site and finished campus.
Commercial Development with a Lasting Impact
Work on the campus began in June, 2016, with the initial focus on the preparation of the location itself.
The site – some of which had previously served as a landfill – required a significant amount of remediation before construction could begin. After that point, the land was prepared for construction and foundations began pouring.
Steel for the main structures was completed in May, with construction crews now working on outfitting the interior framework of each building.
“This is a massive project with many moving parts. Fortunately, Citizens is an engaged client which helps the project be as effective as possible,” says David Varone, Senior Project Manager for Cushman & Wakefield.
The impact of the project will also stretch beyond business hours into the community at large.
In addition to serving as recreation areas for the company itself, the soccer and baseball fields will also be utilized by the public, in partnership with the Johnston Little League and other local recreation organizations.
That spirit of partnership helps ensure that the collaboration and excitement generated by the project isn’t just limited to Citizens Bank employees, but extends to everyone in the community.
“Overall, with the Citizens project, they’ve been very responsive to environmental laws, to doing improvements even beyond compliance and are certainly concerned about community issues,” said Janet Coit, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Environment. “But I think bringing the sewer lines up here, bringing the water and some of the amenities that they have, the amount of the property that they’ve left forested, [Citizens has] turned it into, I think, a really nice amenity for the town”