Feds Turn Denver High-Rise into Hip, New Office Space

The words "government office building" may bring to mind visions of Franz Kafka's notorious clerks' office.

Endless rows of literally gray partitions. Government workers packed into a maze of windowless tunnels. God forbid they should have a view of the outdoors, or be able to occasionally move from their cubes to a comfortable chair or table.

Flexible, collaborative work spaces? Maybe at one of those stylish ad agencies where people are paid to be creative. Health club onsite? Perhaps at Google, but no way in a government office. Skinny latté on site for that sleepy meeting? No, sorry, not for the federal worker.

Not, at least, not until now...

"As you move into the floor plan, you have a huge café area with small banquet tables, expandable conference rooms, fitness center with nice locker rooms, a health clinic," says Rocky Mountain Institute's Nicole LeClaire as she gestures toward a large daylit space on the second floor of the Byron Rogers Federal Office Building recently during the ground breaking ceremony for the retrofit of the building.

The 620,000-square-foot building that houses 11 government agencies is one of five buildings in downtown Denver owned by the General Services Administration, the nation's largest property owner. Four of the five GSA buildings will undergo retrofits to improve energy use, with Byron Rogers being first -- saving taxpayers money over the long run, improving comfort and generally modernizing the workspaces.

"It's all very state of the art," LeClaire continues, pointing another direction. "This area is going to be a large conference room for all building tenants to share. There is a lot of joint meeting space on the floor plate."

Joint meeting spaces allow tenants to reserve a shared conference room for large meetings that may only occur once or twice a month, rather than having a large conference room in every tenant's space that sits empty most of the time. "In the long run the joint-use conference space will save the tenants valuable square footage and money versus providing extra conference space on each tenant floor that will need to be conditioned, " she explains.