• Clint Engel

Ashley Global Retail honored for Tampa redevelopment project

Portion of 20-screen movie theater converted to office space

TAMPA, Fla.— Ashley Global Retail picked up the award for Best Repurpose Project by the NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Assn. for its new offices that will open in Ybor City here later this month.

Ashley Global RetailRepurpose ProjectAshley Global Retail won the Best Repurpose Project award for its new Global Retail facility in Ybor City, Fla. Shown are Don Whallen, left, Ai Collaborative; Robin Bishop, Bishop & Associates; Daniel Eger and Aaron Gillespie, Ashley Furniture Inds.; Josh Jordan, The Perry Co.; Andrew Matson, Ai Collaborative; Eric Grzybowski, The Perry Co.; and Jim Crews, Bishop & Associates.
The marketing, sales and e-commerce arm of Ashley Furniture Inds., was honored during NAIOP Tampa Bay Chapter’s 16th annual Best of the Best Awards dinner late last month at the Westin Tampa Harbour Island.

The project involved repurposing a portion of an existing 20-screen movie theater at Centro Ybor into Ashley Global Retail’s 72,000-square-foot creative and office center. It was a collaborative effort among Ashley’s facility engineering team, Ybor City-based Ai Collaborative architectural firm and general contractor The Perry Co.

In a release, Ashley noted the owners of Centro Ybor worked with Carmike Cinemas to transform about half of the existing movie theaters “into a highly efficient and unique office space for Ashley Global Retail.”

“We wanted to provide an inviting and inspiring work environment for our associates and visitors while respecting the history of Ybor City,” Ashley President and CEO Todd Wanek said in a statement. He called the NAIOP award a “tremendous honor.”

Forty workers were on site for 10 months, transforming eight auditoriums on the second floor into modern office space. High ceilings in the existing space allowed for construction of a third level with an additional 25,000 square feet of space.

The finished facility also features a grand staircase that seamlessly connects all floors, the company said, while a 40-foot custom light fixture with 72 LED bulbs cascades down all three floors. Two of the auditoriums in the facility were upgraded with state-of-the-art lighting and video equipment for large group meetings and presentations.

Ashley converted the central promenade of the theaters’ main hallway into a large employee gathering space and additional open collaboration areas, and various Ashley Global Retail departments were wrapped around the promenade “to create an integrated, engaging and cooperative work space,” the company said.

Each department is open, yet surrounded by special sound-proofing walls from the old theaters to help reduce sound. Each work station features contemporary adjustable height desks, and remote hotspots are located at window sills, so employees can to step away from their desks “for a change in scenery or for a quick collaboration with their colleagues,” Ashley said.

The public areas also are gathering spaces encouraging collaboration, the company said. And the ground floor lobby features Ashley products and a visitor center.

Ashley also installed grand window in what had been a windowless theater complex to bring in natural light and enhance the facility’s architectural appeal.

The existing exterior corridor was converted into a new functional exterior balcony with a design and accents that reflect the historic architectural style of Ybor City but with contemporary accents.

“This facility blends a historic and modern design in an urban setting that is sure to be a hit for all who work and visit here,” said Mark Dufresne, CEO of Ashley Global Retail.

Clint EngelClint Engel | Senior Retail Editor, Furniture Today

Please feel free to email or call me with all of your retail news and tips, including expansion news, successful merchandising and marketing strategies and anything else you would like to see covered by Furniture/Today.  Contact me directly at cengel@furnituretoday.com or 336-605-1129.

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