New facility's light, technology, collaboration are designed for today's workforce
When word spread in late 2016 that Prime Therapeutics would build its new headquarters on a 40-acre site southeast of Interstate 494 and Dodd Road, it didn’t take long for employees to start driving over to check out the beautiful view of Lake Shanahan and the wildlife passing through the area.
It was a short trip: The pharmacy benefits manager—serving 22 Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans nationally—has had a presence in and near Eagan for two decades.
“It’s an unusual location for a corporate headquarters,” says Kim Gibson, senior director, real estate workplace. “We’re so close to everything, but it has a very natural feel to it.” Gibson notes that many employees walk around the lake during breaks or for meetings.
The lake was just one more reason for Prime Therapeutics to remain in Eagan. “We’re proud to keep calling Eagan home,” says Brian Holmes, assistant vice president of strategic partnerships and real estate. “Eagan’s been really great to work with, lots of our employees live here, and the timing was just ideal with the city’s growth.”
With the completion this fall of the first campus building—known as Prime Landing—roughly 1,000 employees (half the company’s workforce in Minnesota) received welcome kits plus training on new wireless presentation technology before moving in over three weekends in October. More employees plan to move in next summer near the end of phase two, scheduled to wrap up in 2020.
Like its corporate neighbor, the Minnesota Vikings, Prime Therapeutics is consolidating employees from multiple facilities, plus its IT and operations teams, at this new 400,000-square-foot headquarters, one of the largest office projects architect Jennifer McMaster, HGA. Her goal included making it “ultra flexible”—with open, light-filled workspaces that encourage internal mobility and collaboration, “huddle rooms” for two- and three-person meetings and a 300-seat auditorium. Her other thoughtfully designed features include easy wayfinding; amenities found in the same place on every floor; a full-
service cafeteria; a dining area, including a Caribou Coffee; plus a deck overlooking Lake Shanahan.
“Previously, we didn’t have a lot of informal collaboration space,” says Gibson, who notes that they conducted a study to determine how people were using co-working areas. “We found that employees wanted open workspaces adjacent to other work spaces. To actually see the spaces in use now is really exciting.” Gibson led the interior design concept work, influenced workspace design for today’s employees and executed moving plans.
Meanwhile, McMaster, directed by the team, also designed the building to focus on health and wellness, adding a fully equipped fitness center, plus indoor and outdoor walking paths. “The elevators are tucked behind the stairs, so it really encourages physical activity,” says Gibson. In addition, natural elements, including live plants and lounge-like furniture, created a relaxed outdoor look.
“This building is comfortable and welcoming, and designed specifically for our workforce,” says Jim DuCharme, president and CEO. “Every decision was made with our current and future employees in mind—how they work, where they work, what they need to be most efficient and even ways we can help them stay well. I am excited and energized by this new space. This project has truly readied Prime for the future.”