By Marty Finley – Reporter, Louisville Business First
The new year is bringing a dramatic new look for one signature downtown Louisville tenant.
Frost Brown Todd LLC, Louisville’s largest law firm, is deep into the first major renovation of its downtown offices, which opened in the early 1990s. The firm invited us into its offices at 400 West Market St. earlier this week to capture the progress on the renovation. You can see the space for yourself in the attached slideshow.
The law firm had long occupied floors 27 through 32 and a portion of the 10th floor inside the 35-story office tower. It has downsized with the renovation to be more efficient with its working space, relinquishing the 27th floor, said Geoff White, member-in-charge of Frost Brown Todd’s Louisville office. Giving up a floor, as a result, reduced Frost Brown Todd’s footprint inside 400 West Market from 125,000 square feet to about 105,000 square feet.
White noted that the company had a top-of-the-line legal industry space when it moved into the building, and only minor upgrades had been made prior to this project.
“Not surprisingly, a lot of things have changed since the 1990s,” he said.
Two of the main goals of this renovation were to emphasize better use of storage and library space within the building while also creating more modern working space for the company’s lawyers and business professionals. Frost Brown Todd employs 309 people in Louisville, including 157 attorneys and 152 business professionals.
The company also wanted to strip away some of the dark woods and other heavy features within the space to increase natural light and create a more open workflow.
To accomplish this mission, the firm hired Gensler, a global design and architecture firm, to develop the new look.
“Their plan really focused on ‘let there be light’ and getting rid of those really heavy features, heavy drywall. Now there is more glass,” White said.
Furthermore, the company has added smaller huddle rooms for worker collaboration and has paired employees together in pods that share similar duties.
Frost Brown Todd has installed energy-efficient lighting and has reworked its 32nd floor conference room with a new design that includes frosted-glass finishes and additional meeting space, White said.
And the firm is beefing up its hospitality offerings by adding a cafe and commissioning a mosaic by a local artist in an effort to create an attractive atmosphere for guests and clients. The office’s safety features also are being modernized.
National contractor Clune Construction Co. is leading the construction. White declined to disclose the firm’s renovation costs but he said it is a “meaningful investment” that totals several million dollars.
About 75 percent of the work is completed with only the 28th and 29th floors left to finish, and the project will wrap up later this year, he added.
White said both senior leaders and younger staff have embraced the upgrades, though the changes have required some adjustment.
“We’re trying to build out a better team environment for how we work,” he said.