After 60 years in their Brooklyn, OH campus, the owners of American Greetings Corporation decided it was time to find a new home for the 1,800 employees they consider family. The campus had served them well, but the company had changed and needed a space that could support their collaborative culture and creative process into the future. With that, the Weiss family began a once-in-a-lifetime project to build a new world headquarters designed for the next generation of their family business.
Under the guidance of a previous owner’s rep, the project encountered numerous challenges and was eventually put on hold – for eight months. Concerned with the lack of progress, American Greetings approached us to take over the project management responsibilities for the design and construction of its nearly $200 million investment – in its people and the future of the company.
As the new owner’s representative, we inherited the project deep in the design phase. As a first step, we reviewed cost and schedule models with the owners to evaluate timing and budget scenarios to ensure everyone had a clear vision of the task ahead – and got the project moving again.
Joining the project in progress meant joining a preassembled team — including a general contractor providing preconstruction services. After our initial project assessment we aided American Greetings in their search for a general contractor to handle the rest of the project, organizing a competitive bid list that included out-of-market national general contractors not previously considered. We received multiple bids and ultimately decided not to award the project to the incumbent, resulting in substantial savings for our client and opportunities to redirect those funds into other aspects of the project.
05 Added Value
The trust we’d built with the client thus far allowed us to provide additional value by engaging our integrated building technology, procurement, and move management teams. Collaboratively focused on the finer details, we assessed the individual requests of each team and made sure they were met in the new building – from state-of-the-art conference rooms and video production studios to a comfortable and flexible work environment.
While evaluating the space required to achieve these results, we discovered that the original project team's estimates were not accurate and the new headquarters building was not properly sized to accommodate the company's needs. That discovery served as a catalyst for an additional 90,000 SF building which we also managed.
THE BIG MOVE
Following construction completion, we facilitated the relocation of more than 1,800 associates from Brooklyn, Ohio to Crocker Park, a mixed-use community in Westlake. The move took place over six weekends — and included training staff to help manage the move, pack efficiently, and ready workspaces for each individual so they could begin work immediately. Employees were divided into groups of 300, and each group had a full weekend to move.
Seamlessly moving the documents, equipment, and people vital to a $2 billion-a-year company into new buildings, without missing a beat in production, was the ultimate measure of success. Knowing we helped American Greetings get back to doing what they do best — creating happiness, laughter, and love.
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