Pleasant work environments

The new buildings that opened earlier this year for Proteus Packaging Corp. and Transpak Corp. in Franklin are primarily industrial/distribution facilities.

But the office space in the buildings have more amenities than what is typically included in a suburban office building. The extra investment in quality office space is intended to create an attractive environment for employees, so they will enjoy working there and want to stay with the companies, said Tom Wamser, the president and chief executive officer of Proteus and Transpak.

"I have approached my business that way my whole life," he said.

The 245,000-square-foot Proteus building at 1 World Packaging Circle has 25,000 square feet of office space and the 275,000-square-foot Transpak building at 2 World Packaging Circle has 17,000 square feet of office space. Proteus manufactures and designs paperboard cartons and packaging. Transpak is a packaging company. The two buildings were built on a 46 acre property in the Franklin Business Park.

The Proteus and Transpak buildings are similar in many ways. Both have two story reception areas with a large number of windows that provide views of the outside and let a large amount of natural light into the buildings. Both have second floor conference rooms with glass walls that face the windows in the reception areas, therefore allowing people in the conference rooms to also enjoy the views of the outdoors. Both buildings also have heated floors in the reception areas to warm the feet of people who enter on a cold winter day. They also have underground parking, an amenity appreciated by employees during the winter months.

"The buildings both have their own character, but they are unmistakably of the same family," Wamser said.

The interiors of the office spaces also feature attractive, high-quality building materials including granite lobby floors, stainless steel railings and elevator doors, and maple wood office trim.

The buildings also have "a few hundred" pieces of artwork, Wamser said and some framed sports memorabilia including Hank Aaron and Bart Starr jerseys.

"We have some things that the men are more likely to enjoy and some things that tend to appeal more to the women," he said. "We have a fairly extensive art collection. I’ve always had a lot of very nice comments from employees as well as visitors."

Wamser said he spent an additional $300,000 to $350,000 for the extra office space amenities in the Proteus building and $200,000 to $250,000 for the extra office space amenities in the Transpak building.

With all of the additional amenities, the buildings cost about $60 a square foot to build (or about $31.2 million), compared to about $40 (or $20.8 million) for a typical suburban industrial/office building, Wamser said.

"I probably couldn’t say what the return on investment (for those amenities) is without getting into some abstract things," he said. "But creating an attractive work environment that helps keep people here, that’s worth something. It costs money to find new people."

Both buildings have attractive break areas. But Wamser also plans to build a fountain and park area between the two buildings for employees to enjoy the outdoors during lunch and other breaks.

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