A new headquarters building for Access Control Devices, Inc. A new 18,078 SF two-story office building, located on an entire city block in downtown Benton, AR. Functions include offices, open workstations, open lounge areas, break rooms, conference rooms, customer reception & waiting, parts storage, and assembly of mechanical components.
Rarely do we encounter clients whose desire to improve their community is as strong as the need to grow their own company. In 2015 BCO+H was hired by Josh and Mandy Lane, owners of Access Control Devices Inc. (ACDI). Their plan to relocate their corporate headquarters to Benton, Arkansas would forever change my perception of the term "Return on Investment", and alter the landscape of our downtown.
ACDI is a technology company, specializing in the development, sales, and distribution of print management hardware & software for printers and copy machines. They have licensing agreements with virtually all major printer manufacturers, and their products are sold in nearly 200 countries across the world. For the past decade, this company had grown from a small staff of 5 people to an international company with over 35 employees. They had steadily outgrown their 5,000 SF metal warehouse building in Little Rock, and the Lanes were now looking for property in their hometown of Benton to relocate and expand their business.
Incorporated in 1836, Benton is a small (but rapidly growing) town about 20 miles southwest of Arkansas' capitol city. Located along I-30, and equidistant between Little Rock (the state's leader in business) and Hot Springs (the state's leader in tourism), growth has been inevitable and difficult to manage. As with many old communities adjacent to an interstate highway, the downtown identity has suffered since the mid-1950's, as business has naturally migrated away from the square. Consequently, major private investments in Benton's downtown have been nonexistent for many years, despite the impressive efforts of city government and Saline County's economic development team. Time for a change!
An entire city block only 450 feet from the county courthouse had been vacant since a large grocery store went out of business 8 years prior. The empty property was a depressing symbol of downtown's economic exodus. Although few would have recommended this location, the Lane's saw a profound opportunity. ACDI purchased the 2-acre lot and developed their program for a complete re-brand of the company and a revitalization of this historic area. Whereas, their old building was cramped, dark, segregated, and land-locked...the new facility must be open, bright, communal, and expandable. The block sits directly between the town square and the oldest existing homestead in Saline County (the Shoppach House ca. 1852). Whereas the previous on-site development (a chain grocery store) was an unattractive, nondescript, out-of-scale shoebox located in a sea of asphalt...the new facility must be a striking, sculptural, neighborhood-sensitive structure that makes every attempt to buffer the surrounding streets from on-site vehicles. Our A/E team worked with the owners for 14 months to create a design that is a product of each request and intention of their vision.
The old parking lot was dozed and the old building was razed to the ground. The concrete footings and asphalt were ground up and stored on site to be re-used as suitable fill for the new construction. The existing steel was recycled. The old trees were preserved. The new building is strategically positioned with its shortest walls and open upper porch close to the road, preserving the scale of the homes directly across the street. In the opposite direction, the building opens up and "nods its head" towards downtown in a polite gesture that is intended to celebrate the past and enthusiastically forge the future of ACDI...and Benton, Arkansas. The success of this project is proof of the Lane's concept. After only 9 months, the building is nearing its 70-person capacity, and will soon be faced with the need for one of four planned on-site expansions.
I can't wait. - Brian Black, AIA