The working space for CBD employees at the CorTen building at Market and Douglas isn’t the typical office setting.
Instead of rows of cubicles, the space features individual work stations situated in a circle with a table in the middle. Along with a high ceiling and flowing natural light, the area represents the type of collaborative style that urban-based employers are moving toward.
As the open house crowd following Thursday’s CorTen ribbon-cutting event thinned, there was even music playing in the background, something that used to be reserved for auto garages and restaurant kitchens.
“It can get quiet in here sometimes,” said Justine Hedge, CBD’s digital marketing manager. “Cassandra encourages us to play music to break up the silence.”
The namesake of owner and creative director Cassandra Bryan, CBD is a website design and marketing firm. The building is also home to four other tenants: Kacy Meinecke Photography, Global Partner Solutions, Airgroup Express and a Farm Bureau Financial Services office.
A crowd of nearly 50 people gathered Thursday morning for the ribbon-cutting, which was put on by the Wichita Downtown Development Corp. and the building’s owner, Bokeh Development. The former Merrill Lynch building is at the southeast corner of Douglas and Market.
“This means that downtown continues to grow,” said Lavonta Williams, Wichita City Council member for the downtown area where the building sits. “It’s very important that visitors, when they come in, see a vibrant downtown area.”
The CorTen building – named for the rusted steel-type material used to remodel its exterior – features commercial space on two floors, along with an exercise area in the basement. Bokeh Development is run by Michael Ramsey and Robert Eyster.
“This is a great adaptive re-use of a building,” said Jeff Fluhr of the Downtown Development Corp. “It’s a dynamic space that is attracting new commercial tenants to our downtown.”
CorTen features about 12,400 square feet of leasable space, with CBD taking up most of the first floor. The renovation of the building included adding windows to its east side, opening up views of the adjacent Reflection Square park, which features the well-known soda fountain sculpture.
“We absolutely love it here,” said Bryan. “The parking is improving (downtown), and there are more places to eat within walking distance. I love to look out of our office and see trees and a courtyard and then have the pop-up park on the other side.
“It was a big draw for me to be able to get up from your computer during the day and have places to walk to that aren’t just cement.”