Red Door Interactive, a San Diego marketing firm, is enticing workers back to the office with a move from a downtown tower to an open campus in Sherman Heights that has more options for where and how people work.
“Being around smart people in a smart space that was thoughtfully designed is what really differentiates this campus for me,” said Madeline Sweeney, a business manager on Red Door’s client services team.
Sweeney had been working from home but said that since Red Door moved to the Sherman Heights open campus, she prefers working in the office and feels “a sense of awe every time I go on campus.”
“It’s been an incredibly productive and inspiring environment because we have the ability to go to spaces that make us feel creative,” Sweeney said. “In every meeting, I’m shifting, I’m going to a different space or I’m going to my desk where I can stand or sit.”
Building on Experience
Formerly in Diamond View Tower overlooking Petco Park, Red Door in July moved into the firm’s new headquarters at 2436-2450 Market Street.
Red Door bought the 17,596-square-foot campus property in January 2020 for $3.2 million.
The company had been leasing space in Diamond View Tower since 2004, but CEO and Founder Reid Carr said that when the company’s lease ran out, he decided to buy the Sherman Heights property to avoid rising rents.
Red Door’s new offices are spread over three low-rise buildings that underwent extensive renovations designed by AVRP Skyport architects based in East Village.
Carr declined to say what the renovations ultimately cost, but before work started, he had estimated it would be about $7 million.
The property included a former single-family home that was remodeled in a craftsman style, a metal sided garage that was gutted and redone to form a central hub of the Red Door campus, and a former storefront that has become a heads-down work area for quite work.
“The west building looks like a house and we really do want to create a home-like environment for our people,” Carr said, adding that the design of the new campus was “an evolution.”
“It was all built on everything we learned over 20 years in five different office spaces,” Carr said.
The metal building is behind the former storefront and is connected to it by an outdoor deck. It was completely gutted and reskinned.
The floor was dug-out to give the building higher ceiling height to enable the addition of a mezzanine and pocket balconies.
Folding bleachers and a kitchen also were added as were small-booths similar to those used in restaurants, although these are semi-enclosed to create private meeting areas.
Sweeney said that she’s particularly fond of large floor-to-ceiling garage-style doors in the metal building that open to give an outdoor feel to the space.
“People are always in and out. It feels like there’s this energy,” Sweeney said.
An exterior east wall has a mural by Paul Mericle, a visual arts and design teacher at Francis Parker School, meant to reflect the many cultures found in Sherman Heights.
Chris Veum, president of AVRP Skyport, said that Red Door’s new headquarters is an example of how aging buildings can be brought back to life instead of tearing them down to build something new.
“We’re just taking what’s there and elevating or enhancing it so it still becomes part of the fabric of the neighborhood without dramatically changing it,” Veum said.
Part of the appeal of the campus is its openness – a move that both creates outdoor work spaces and helps Red Door become a friendly neighbor.
“It faces the community. It doesn’t turn its back on the community. It doesn’t put up a wall to say, ‘we’re inside and you’re going to be outside and the rest of you kind of figure out what we’re doing beyond the walls,’” Veum said.
Veum said the design was meant to evoke the feelings that Sweeney expressed about creating a welcoming environment where people are happy to be in the office.
“We’re in a world today where people are making their own choices as opposed to companies prescribing how you should work. We’ve learned through the (COVID-19) pandemic that you can’t prescribe. It has to be about choice,” Veum said. “Red Door is a smart enough organization where they do give people choices.”
Tyler Hustwick, Red Door director of marketing, called the new campus “literally a breath of fresh air” because it is so open with multiple outdoor patios and decks.
With the campus variety of work spaces, “you’re really able to switch up your day. No day is the same and that really, to me, sort of brings sort of fresh creativity day in and day out,” Hustwick said.
“What brings me back each day is really the energy,” Hustwick said. “You really can’t replicate that in the work from home environment.”
Red Door Interactive
CEO/Founder: Reid Carr
Headquarters: Sherman Heights
Business: Marketing firm
Social impact: Working with Sherman Heights Community Center to offer after-school workshops.
Notable: Red Door has been named a “best places to work” 14 years in a row. With offices in San Diego and Denver, Red Door is planning to expand an already has people working in Tucson, New Orleans, Tijuana and Manila.