Wray Ward Office Named Top Adaptive-Reuse Development in Charlotte Business Journal’s 2021 Heavy Hitters Commercial Real Estate Awards

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    October 18, 2021

Wray Ward Office Named Top Adaptive-Reuse Development in Charlotte Business Journal’s 2021 Heavy Hitters Commercial Real Estate Awards


2317 Thrift Road, opened in September 2020, combines 39,000-square-foot adaptive reuse and new construction in Charlotte’s emerging FreeMoreWest neighborhood.

Wray Ward’s recently opened office space (2317 Thrift Road) was named the Top Adaptive-Reuse Development by the Charlotte Business Journal at the eighth annual Heavy Hitters Commercial Real Estate Awards on October 14, 2021. Designed and constructed with partners LPA Urban, Redline Design and Edifice, the exciting and visually appealing adaptive reuse and new construction project is a fusion of old and fresh, new elements, folded into a decidedly “non-office approach” that borrows from other worlds. It is also an impetus for development in an emerging corner of the city, and as a creative, collaborative hub for nonprofit organizations and creative businesses in Charlotte Mecklenburg.

“Our vision of an office as a creative, collaborative hub came to life thanks to our incredible development, construction and design partners, and we’re thrilled to see it – and them -- recognized by Charlotte’s commercial real estate community as the best adaptive reuse project in the region,” said Jennifer Appleby, president and chief creative officer of Wray Ward. “As much as it taps into contemporary office design trends, Wray Ward’s new home was also built to withstand the test of time.”

The office took shape from the renovation of an existing 20,000-square-foot 1950s industrial structure and construction of a new, two-story attached building. In addition to mixing old and new and textured and smooth, the design preserves the rich patina of the agency’s colors through painted steel, pops of fabric and artwork.

“Blending the existing structural elements with new additions was a really interesting process,” Redline Design’s Brooks Runkle said. “We saw how the building has two lives and were excited to see an old building transform before our eyes as we got deeper and deeper into the process.”

In renovating an old structure and adding new construction to form a 39,000 square-feet office, the resulting space promotes creativity, collaboration and productivity through inspired meeting spaces, access to fresh air and natural light. A dramatic stadium-style raised seating area in the new-construction portion of the building greets guests as they walk into the lobby; sized to host all-staff “town halls,” the space has a wall of windows for dramatic effect. A bright, oversized café that was part of the original structure creates a dynamic collision point in the center of the building. Thirteen conference rooms range in size; a 1,600-square-foot rooftop deck and first-floor patio provide outdoor workspaces; a game room adds to the office’s energy; and part of the former warehouse was converted into a 3,000-square-foot studio.

Additionally, the project is helping to inspire other developers to contribute to the transformation of Thrift Road and the FreeMoreWest neighborhood from a little-used industrial and warehouse area into a growing professional and social community. Today, the street is energized with additional development and road improvements.

“The adaptive reuse design and development of Wray Ward’s building is a perfect anchor of FreeMoreWest -- the old and the new,” said Mark Miller, director, LPA Urban, which owns and developed the property. “We are very proud of this project as we continue to bring a new life to this vibrant and quickly evolving neighborhood.”

The building’s impact on the community extends beyond business and development to further enrich the area’s nonprofit and creative communities. Wray Ward offers the building’s 3,000-square-foot studio as a rental space to other creatives. Attached to the office but with its own entry, green room, restrooms and lounge area, the studio features oversized garage doors for easy load-in, natural light and fresh air. These design considerations ensure the space can be used for non-agency photo shoots and events without disrupting the agency’s daily business.

Wray Ward has also activated 2317 Thrift Road to fulfill its vision to offer a collaborative space for other creative and nonprofit businesses in the area. The agency has opened its doors to a variety of community organizations to host events and gatherings such as panel discussions, skills training and professional networking.

The Heavy Hitters Commercial Real Estate Awards seek to honor the projects that have impacted the Queen City’s economy, business community and recognize those who made it happen. All 25 projects recognized at the awards ceremony were completed between June 2020 and July 2021.

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