The new $122 million Dunnhumby Centre will be wider than it is tall and isn’t being designed to take a prominent place in Cincinnati’s skyline.
“It’s going to be like the shiny penny in the fabric of downtown,” said Elva Rubio, the Midwest regional design leader for Gensler, the global architecture firm designing the project.
Rubio and Tim Jacobson, Gensler’s design director on the project, on Friday presented early designs for DunnhumbyUSA’s new headquarters to the city of Cincinnati’s Urban Design Review Board. The board is made up of local architects and business people and signs off on major design projects in the city, particularly those using city funds.
Board Chairman Dick Rosenthal said before the meeting he hoped architects would show the exterior, or “skin,” of the building.
But Rubio said the exterior is still a work in progress. Gensler, she said, designs projects for clients from the inside out to make sure the interior space influences how the building’s exterior works, she said.
And the interior of the DunnhumbyUSA office space will be unlike any of Cincinnati’s traditional office towers. The vast floor plates will stretch the width of the city block between Fifth and Sixth streets along Race Street, she said. There won’t be any interior offices or walls, and employees will have relatively small individual work spaces of their own. Rather, the focus will be on collaborative areas where employees can work in groups, she said.
“It’s all laptop, all wireless, very much team-based,” she said. “It’s a different kind of distribution of space.”
And, she noted, it’s much more like new buildings built for such companies as Facebook.
The building’s façade will likely have “cut outs” to make room for outdoor spaces that DunnhumbyUSA employees can use when the weather is nice, she said, and the top of the building will have outdoor gathering space, too.
The market research firm’s headquarters also will have 30,000 square feet reserved for Kroger Personal Finance, said Stephen Leeper, CEO of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp., which is developing the site for the city and DunnhumbyUSA. Kroger Personal Finance is a division of Kroger Co. that offers credit and prepaid debit cards, gift cards and other personal finance services.
Leeper said 3CDC doesn’t yet have tenants lined up for the street-level commercial space that will be part of the Dunnhumby Centre project. DunnhumbyUSA has the right to sign off on any tenants for the project, he said.
“We have not made any decisions as to whether or not it’s restaurant, clothing or convenience uses,” Leeper said. “We are attempting to design this with the flexibility that we could do any of those.”
The street-level design will include areas that could accommodate outdoor dining, he said.
Leeper did say that the retail spot at the corner of Fifth and Race streets will be particularly important.
“That lends itself most to a restaurant,” he said. “We want to animate that the most.”
In all, the building will be nine stories, but some of the floors will be taller than typical office building floors in Cincinnati. 3CDC officials have said the project will be as tall as a typical 13.6-story office building. But Rubio said even that is still a work in progress.
Leeper said the building will be more than twice as tall as Macy’s downtown store, which sits across Race Street from the development.
3CDC expects to have more detail to present to the review board in March, Leeper said.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Top Central Stories
Outgoing Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig fired back to a local minority police organization’s “vote of no confidence” last week, defending his record as a transparent and fair executive.