A Brokerage Transforms a Pre-War Art Deco Hotel into a Whimsical Office

From a small, Bay area brokerage to a national franchise, Climb Real Estate  transforms a pre-war art deco hotel into a whimsical, spacious office space.

Climb Real Estate is an innovative residential real estate brokerage founded in San Francisco in 2010. Once the decision to go from a small Bay Area brokerage into a national franchise was made, the new office needed to reflect the spirit of Climb’s burgeoning brand. After an extensive renovation from what was formerly a transient hotel, the new office space at The Leamington was transformed into the new vision of this exciting Realogy brand.

When was the project completed?
2018

How much space (SF)?
(3112 RSF) gross SF

Was this new or renovated space?
This is a renovated space, transformed from what was once a pre-war Art Deco hotel. Inspired by creative co-working spaces, the 3,100-square-foot office was designed by a local San Francisco-based interior designer. The firm took inspiration from the building’s history and location to create a unique, yet modern interpretation of the space. Large windows flood the space with natural light, and a spacious, open floor plan allows for agents and clients alike to move freely within the space, utilizing its many collaborative workspaces, phone booths, and even an interactive wall map. Pops of color and whimsical design features appear throughout the space that pays homage to the surrounding Oakland neighborhood.

SF per person?
(312 PSF per person)

How many employees
35

What is the average daily population?
50-100

Is there a mobile work or work from home policy? If so, what percent of employees are remote workers?
Yes, real estate agents are independent contractors and are not required to be in the office.

Describe workspace types.
Inspired by creative co-working spaces, Climb’s Oakland office is the new paradigm for the future of the real estate office. There are common areas made for interaction, private meeting spaces, phone booths for conversations and large conference rooms. There is a large kitchen area with an island that doubles for meeting areas.

What kind of meeting spaces are provided?
We have large conference rooms, medium conference rooms of a variety of configurations and smaller communal meeting spaces.

What other kinds of support space or amenity spaces are provided?
There is a front reception desk, administrative area, and one private executive office.

What are the projects location and proximity to public transportation and/or other amenities?
The office is located in Uptown Oakland, a diverse, emerging hub for technology, art, music, and design with close proximity to BART.

Was the “C” Suite involved in the project planning and design process? If so, how?
Yes, the entire management team was involved in the focus groups and studies to determine the future of the real estate office. With Climb focused on innovation and a strong millennial culture, management, team members and agents were consulted.

What kind of programming or visioning activities were used?
To fit the work schedule of a modern real estate agent, creating a strong work culture was paramount. Creating a flexible work design – including stadium seating – allowed for movie nights, exercise classes and client fundraisers.

Were any pre-planning surveys conducted to get employee input?
Electronic surveys were distributed from other offices to gather agent and staff input.

Was there any other kind of employee engagement activities?
The designer had a specific steering committee to help with office design, furniture layout, and overall aesthetics.

Please describe any program requirements that were unique or required any special research or design requirements.
One room is dedicated to virtual reality, enabling agents to show properties to clients without having to leave the office. This required in-house development and partnerships to install and enable this state-of-the-art technology.

Was there any emphasis or requirements on programming for health and wellbeing initiatives for employees?
Absolutely. We collaborated with the designer on a Coffee Bar, Dog Bar, Charge Bar and Snack Bar with organic fruits and vegetables.

Were there any special or unusual construction materials or techniques employed in the project?
Because the building was the anchor tenant, it served as a showcase for the revitalization of not only the building but also the surrounding location.

For specific examples, please describe the product, how it was used, and if it solved any specific problem.
With a lack of natural light, the designer used lightening techniques to create a warm, bright work environment.

What products or service solutions are making the biggest impact in your space.
Most of the furniture was sourced from Steelcase, Viccarbe, Coalesse or custom designed.

What kind of branding elements were incorporated into the design?
There is a logo wall at the entrance.

What is the most unique feature of the new space?
There are many, but some of the most unique features are the green wall in the star conference room, the stadium seating with a projector that comes down from the wall and the large kitchen with island.

What kinds of technology products were used?
There is an interactive map wall and VR room.

How did the company communicate about the changes and moves?
The company held a grand opening party in the new space.

Were there post-occupancy surveys?
Yes, we had 100% satisfaction from agent surveys.

If so, what were the most surprising or illuminating or hoped-for results?
Our agent base noted they wanted to come to the office more.

Tell us more!
Building Architect: RMW Architects

Photos Courtesy of Climb Real Estate

Answers provided by Climb Real Estate Founder, Chris Lim

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