By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The former Lord & Taylor at Fairlane Town Center has a new look with Ford Motor Co. employees now occupying the 240,000-square-foot space.
Ford’s new space conversion of 26 stores into work space comes after work on its $1.2 billion campus transformation plan began this year.
Over the next 10 years Ford plans to move 30,000 employees from its current 70 buildings into two campus locations.
“As we began the 10-year process of constructing new technology labs and offices, we needed an innovative solution to situate larger teams close to our operations,” Ford Land CEO and Chairman Dave Dubensky said in a press release. “The proximity and design of Fairlane Mall, along with its on-site amenities support our transformation in offering multiple conveniences for our employees. It is a win-win for us and the community.”
The current Ford Town Center Office houses 1,800 employees from its engineering and purchasing teams making Ford the mall’s biggest tenant.
“As technology redefines how consumers shop, malls are reinventing themselves to offer not just retail and dining experiences, but community gathering areas, entertainment venues and office centers,” Fairlane Town Center General Manager Ria Nelson said in a press release.
Currently, Fairlane Town Center has three department stores, Macy’s, JCPenney and Sears since Lord & Taylor closed in 2006.
“Retail has shifted so much over the years and Fairlane is no different,” Nelson said. “We have more than 125 stores and restaurants, but like much of the industry, we have expanded to include other opportunities.”
The layout of the office provides a unique work environment for employees to focus and promote wellness, collaboration and sustainability.
Walk-up stations were designed for employees who want to walk on a treadmill at a 2 mph pace as they return emails, answer phone calls and complete other tasks.
“Ample lounge space and cafes encourage movement, offering flexibility in terms of where employees choose to work each day,” a Ford Land press release said. “Wellness rooms, as well as reflection rooms for prayer and meditation encourage employees to take breaks to recharge. The space also features lactation rooms for nursing mothers.”
For employee collaboration, Ford created an open work space that includes, “ergonomically designed workstations” featuring “adjustable-height desks that offer a custom fit, along with the ability for employees to change posture throughout the day to promote energy and stimulation.”
Materials selected were a priority for Ford when designing the space that aimed to promote wellness and sustainability.
“The new visitor lobby features an accent wall of reclaimed wood, while carpet made from recycled content is fully recyclable at the end of its lifecycle,” the press release said. “Zero volatile organic compound paint is used throughout the space.”
Natalie Pohlman, a technical assistance site engineer, was one of thousands Ford employees to relocate to the office.
“Since moving in, I’ve met a lot of new people,” she said. Having the team in one place, along with access to all of the collaboration space has made it easier to work together.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])