Huge windows, open floorplan: Welcome to AgChoice's new headquarters
Floor-to-ceiling windows, comfortably furnished collaborative spaces and speakers that softly pump music by the likes of Bruno Mars.
This isn't a Google-esque tech company or another luxury apartment complex. It's the new headquarters of AgChoice Farm Credit, the cooperative association that provides many of the state's agricultural loans.
The company moved into its new digs in Silver Spring Township's Delta Pointe business park last month. The newly constructed, 19,000-square-foot facility houses about 55 employees who were previously split between two other buildings in the township.
AgChoice, which has about $1.8 billion in gross loan assets, commissioned the new headquarters as part of a company-wide facilities upgrade, said president and CEO Darrell Curtis. That includes renovations or replacements of its 10 branch offices throughout the state.
The association has modernized four of those branches and replaced three over the last three years. That includes a newly-constructed branch that opened last month in North Codorus Township, York County.
The new headquarters, though, is the cream of the association's crop.
The high-ceilinged building between Route 114 and Interstate 81 is a study in modern office layout. That means low-walled cubicles intended to encourage collaboration, optional standing desks, a room for nursing mothers and a small, central cluster of glass-walled offices where the CEO works in the same-sized space as everyone else.
AgChoice's leaders already had a good idea of what they wanted to see in the new office when they approached Scott Dillow of Lancaster County-based Dillow Associate Architects. Their biggest requests: Lots of metal, and enough glass to let sunlight reach even the building's center offices, Dillow said.
Large windows and open floorplans are both trendy in building design right now as companies look to retain talent by creating friendlier spaces, he noted.
Personal touches also abound in AgChoice's space. Employees created two large paintings – one with handprints, the other with paint drizzles – for the collaborative spaces. Customers submitted photos of cows, pigs and other agricultural staples that adorn other walls.
AgChoice also kept an eye toward community collaborations in its design, incorporating a large meeting area with room for 90 people and video conferencing capabilities. The association's directors hope to offer educational programs there, in addition to opening the space to agricultural and other groups.
"We want to be a leader in agriculture in Pennsylvania" not just in lending, but also in education, said Brandon Weary, an AgChoice board member who co-owns a dairy farm near Newville.
The building has space to accommodate about 30 more employees as the association grows. The property also has room for AgChoice to expand its building's square footage by about 50 percent if the need arises.
The association is the most recent tenant to move into the 12-lot Delta Pointe business park, which has been under development since 2007. Its neighbors will eventually include two hotels, engineering firm Gatter & Diehl Inc., a Penn State Hershey Medical Center primary care clinic and headquarters for The Carlisle Group, an executive-recruiting firm.
AgChoice executives described the site's proximity to Route 114 and I-81 as one of the biggest factors driving them to the new park. The Cumberland County I-81 corridor as a whole has become an increasingly popular option for all kinds of operations in recent years, from warehouses to large corporate headquarters.
Silver Spring Township Supervisor Chair Nancy Konhaus Griffie praised AgChoice during a Jan. 5 ribbon-cutting ceremony for erecting its building at the "gateway" to the region.
"Thanks for making us look good," she said.
A previous version of this story included incorrect information. AgChoice has $1.8 billion in gross loan assets.
Ribbon-cutting at AgChoice Farm Credit's new HQ in Silver Spring Township's Delta Pointe business park. pic.twitter.com/BIShFv8oy6— Jennifer Wentz (@jenni_wentz) January 5, 2017