As a brand that is all about getting people to enjoy the great outdoors, L.L. Bean has managed to incorporate elements of nature into its new sprawling corporate offices.
To celebrate the $110 million, 390,000-square-foot headquarters’ unveiling, the Freeport, Maine-based company will hold an opening party on June 15. Brimming with natural light and wide-open views of trees and the expansive property, the home office features all-glass meeting rooms, trails for the public, a 10,000-square-foot courtyard with a firepit, as well as tree houses, huddle rooms and indoor fireplaces. Some of the 950 Maine-based staffers started enjoying the new setup in December and others have done so in recent months.
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With the home office squared away, L.L. Bean has embarked on a $50 million project to renovate its flagship in Freeport and reimagine its retail campus. Expansion of the Discovery Park, more community engagement offerings, immersive experiences, a more inviting Main Street entrance, new dining options, and an enhanced fresh water pond with salmon and trout will be part of the renovation plan. Executive chairman and the founder’s great grandson Shawn Gorman said in a statement, “We have called Maine our home for more than a century, and we will continue to invest in Freeport with the same vigor we have since the beginning.”
L.L. Bean’s team worked with all Maine-based partners — including SMRT Architects, Zachau Construction, Sebago Technics and Creative Office Resources — to support the local economy and created approximately 1,200 jobs over the course of the eight-year project, a company spokesman said. The setup involved consolidating five office buildings and locations into two buildings and one central base.
With a complimentary state-of-the-art fitness center — that looks out on the woods and open land — staffers (as well as their spouses, partners and retired employees) have no excuses not to exercise. Bicycle storage, private locker rooms and showers provide added incentive. Should anyone overdo it, there is a health clinic on-site that offers injury treatment, free preventative care and confidential short-term counseling. And a little down time can be found in 14 quiet rooms and five mothers’ rooms.
Break time or lunch can lead to other options — a self-service canteen, an on-site coffee shop and five kitchens on the premises. To support its sustainability efforts, the buildings are run on 80 percent renewable electricity that is powered by solar installations in the company’s home state of Maine. Automated window blinds allow for three feet of daylight at select times to save electricity and heating costs. There are also outdoor air systems with energy recovery wheels to recover 60 percent of the energy from the exhaust air systems.
On-site recycling and composting are also in order. Just as U.S. national parks abide by a “Leave no trace” policy, so, too, does L.L. Bean’s new corporate office’s outdoor and shared spaces. There are ergonomically correct chairs, adjustable desks for those who prefer to stand and an open-office layout to ensure plenty of natural daylight for all.
Wear-testing is being amped up with a lab that has a rain room and outdoor weather-worthy features. There is also a production lab for shoots for L.L. Bean’s catalogues, advertising and online site. A retail lab is designed to test drive customer experiences.
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