Innovation Pointe Leads the Revolution at Utah’s Silicon Slopes Technology Hub
By Greg Bennett
In the heart of Utah — strategically located at the border of the state’s two largest counties and halfway between its two most influential universities — lies the Point of the Mountain.
Besides offering world-class hang-gliding opportunities, the area is also known as the home of Silicon Slopes. Silicon Slopes is a technology hub that houses world-class firms including Adobe, Domo, Qualtrics and Micron.
Photos by Aaron Shaw, Endeavor Architectural Photography
It has almost single-handedly been responsible for Utah County being ranked No. 2 county for job growth and No. 6 for wage increase, according to recently released information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Besides the high economic growth the area is bringing to the Beehive state, Silicon Slopes also has a progressive corporate feel unexpected in the high desert of the West.
JUMPING IN HEAD FIRST
For Bret Mackay, principal with DLM Development, part of the Innovation Pointe Partnership, the decision to jump into the Silicon Slopes Class A office space arena meant fully embracing the unique opportunities and the culture of the area. However, clients drawn to the Point of the Mountain also appreciate fresh ideas and new ways of looking at things.
“We wanted to be different than what we saw around us,” Bret says. “We wanted it to feel different, look different and be different.”
MHTN Architects developed an aesthetic that starts at the recently completed Innovation One building and will be continued through Innovation Four. The floor-to-ceiling glass, lighter exterior finish materials and LED lighting tracks stand out amidst the clutter of dark gray and wood finishes, highlighted by blue and light-gray hued windows.
“We wanted to be a landlord that didn’t just offer space, but offered a community. Our goal is to create an innovation community.”
Principal, DLM Development
“We’ve also placed the buildings slightly closer together — 40 feet instead of the more standard 60 feet — to give the development a more urban feel,” says James Jones, an architect with MHTN. “The closeness adds energy to exterior voids between the paired buildings. Glass and concrete walls enclose an urban plaza amenity where building occupants can enjoy an outdoor lunch served by visiting food trucks.”
The result is an exterior finish that performs well and looks fantastic.
SOMETHING TO DO
For developers looking to build a shell and lease space to clients, “extras” are usually hard to come by. However, the desire to offer clients something better led the developers to add amenities usually reserved for owner-occupied facilities.
“We spent a lot of time talking with real estate brokers in the area about what clients were looking for in a space,” says Steve Layton, project manager with DLM Development. “Their input led us to invest in spaces that offer a better work environment, while also creating a collaborative atmosphere from building to building.”
Besides the general aesthetic “extras” Innovation One includes a common employee lounge on the main floor. Other complementary amenities and community spaces will be included in subsequent buildings, too.
“We won’t duplicate the amenities from one building to the next, but will offer various spaces to help our tenants attract and retain high-quality employees,” Bret says. “These Silicon Slopes businesses are experiencing a shortfall of thousands of needed employees. We want to offer a space that benefits our tenants now and for years to come.”
“Adding amenities is a bit of a risk upfront, but we feel like it will pay off in the long run. These ideas have stretched us and required input from everyone, but we think they’ve made the project better.”
Project manager, DLM Development
Each building will house between three and five tenants, with the entire four-building campus eventually offering space to between 15 and 20 tenants. The campus has already become a major landmark player in the heart of the city of Lehi’s tech market.
This innovative approach was made easier because the development company had worked with Layton, Lake Pointe Property Management and MHTN — as well as key subcontractors — numerous times before.
“This was not our first rodeo, so we kept riding the stallions,” says Kent England, Senior VP of Real Estate Services with Lake Pointe Property Management — another part of the Innovation Pointe Partnership. “We’ve built more than two million square feet of space together. There’s trust there.”
This trust enabled all parties to share ideas for making the buildings meet the highest standards. Combine innovative ideas and demanding standards of excellence with an aggressive time schedule and you can have constructability challenges.
“You always have the pressure of finishing on time,” says Jeff Snideman, project manager for Layton. “We would meet weekly and work through concerns openly, which led to the best solutions.”
THE END RESULT
“Innovation Pointe stands out,” James says. “The Utah market is experiencing a revival of modernist styled buildings, this project raises speculative office building stock to a new level. We collaborated closely throughout the design process down to the finest details. The end product shines.”
The building already does what the ownership team hoped.
“We put a lot of extras in and paid attention to small details,” Bret says. “The nice thing is that tenants are noticing specific little touches that we put in. When they notice those things, you realize the benefits of our design strategy.”
Public Relations Manager
Innovation One at Innovation Pointe
July 20, 2017
Oct. 10, 2018
Total Square Footage
Salt Lake City
Acoustical Ceilings and Drywall
Ceiling Systems Inc.
Excavation and Site Work
Spectra Contract Flooring
B & D Glass
Lundahl Iron Works
Each building will include a massive scale, color-changing LED feature highlighting areas of the exterior facade. The lights not only add beauty, but allow tenants to celebrate various causes and occasions — like pink lights for breast cancer awareness month.
The complicated, hillside site required 55,000 tons of dirt be moved.
A decision was made to design buildings that didn’t look like others in the hot tech-sector “Silicon Slopes.” The exposed Steel Buckling Restrained Brace (BRBF) is an architectural feature on the fifth floor that is truly unique.