The Plan: A Look Inside JLL’s New WELL-Built Offices at 28 Liberty Street

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The air in JLL’s new offices on the 30th floor of 28 Liberty Street (once known as One Chase Manhattan Plaza) feels different than normal office air. It’s fresher.

There’s a reason for this: It’s been purified.

The brokerage integrated technology from AtmosAir Solutions that works with the office’s HVAC system to remove contaminants, dust particles, toxic mold, odors and bacteria and controls the humidity and carbon monoxide levels to make the air feel “pure,” according to the company’s website.

“We are compliant with ventilation code, but it goes beyond just adding outside air, since increasing ventilation increases energy,” Dana Schneider, a JLL managing director who leads its energy and sustainability division, told Commercial Observer during a tour of the new space. “Our balance instead is to meet and exceed minimum ventilation requirements, but more important than that is the controls that we have in place to manage the air temperature, the cubic feet per minute (which is the speed of the air ventilation), the humidity levels of the air and the combination of AtmosAir to purify the air.”

The new digs, which opened in July, will be the first office up for WELL certification, a roughly three-year-old ranking service by the International WELL Building Institute that tries to encourage healthy office designs and eco-friendly features. There are nine other projects—commercial and residential—seeking WELL certification in the city, according to the group’s website. (JLL’s rival—CBRE—was the first to receive certification in the fall 2013 at their global headquarters in Los Angeles.)

JLL is also aiming for a U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED platinum rating.

Besides the air quality improvements, JLL tried to hit other WELL certification points, such as access to natural light.

The 10,000-square-foot office was designed so that all of the open-desk spaces have access to the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing most employees direct access to daylight, and scenic views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and Lower Manhattan from the 2.2 million-square-foot property, which is owned by Fosun International.

The office’s lights turn off in daylight and turn on when the infrared sensors suggest that there’s someone in the room.

Of course, wellness is not strictly wrapped up in the design and materials. Employees receive discounts to nearby gyms, and every desk in the space is adjustable for sitting and standing positions, allowing employees to get up and stretch while they are working to keep the blood flowing.

“You’re supposed to get up at least once an hour, just for your own circulation,” Schneider said. “The seated position is not a natural position for the human body.”

Purified water is available in the kitchen for all employees and (unlike CO’s offices) healthy snacks, like fruits and nuts, are stocked in the pantry. Conference rooms and phone booths are acoustically sealed. And in terms of relaxation, there are open spaces with contemporary ornaments and stylish furniture, and there are plants throughout the office.

“We are not treating our people like machines; we understand what makes them happy,” Schneider said. “An office like this makes it so you want to be in your office. You produce when you are in your office, and you are motivated.”

Relaxing common spaces are made with contemporary designs. Photo: Yvonne Albinowski/For Commercial Observer

The conference room is acoustically sealed. Photo: Yvonne Albinowski/For Commercial Observer

Standing desks help workers maintain healthy bodies. Photo: Yvonne Albinowski/For Commercial Observer

Recycling is a huge factor in this office, that's why it's clearly marked in the pantry. Photo: Yvonne Albinowski/For Commercial Observer