Fuller’s Core Commitments and Updates on the Future of Fuller: Pasadena Sale/Pomona Campus Build Update

Pasadena sale
Detailed considerations around an assemblage as unique and yet complicated as Fuller’s has meant that specifics of sale price, closing dates, and leaseback rates between Fuller and the buyers with whom we have entered into an agreement are complicated and fluid. This can (and has) affected design and capacity plans downstream. This is a natural part of a commercial sale process until a deal is completed, but because we must plan and build concurrently, overlapping processes require rigorous plans with adept fluidity and—often—strict confidentiality. However, as these negotiations proceeded and calculations around building  continue to become more secure, we have greater clarity about space needs and budget affordability. This clarity generated the initial consideration of the Houston campus and virtual workspace possibilities, opening new vistas of thought and accommodation—with the potential of strengthening the preservation of some mission-critical spaces and programs. This makes the Houston option an appealing one, which we are pursuing on its own merits.

New campus design
The design firm of Formation Association with Cannon Design, led by architect John K. Chan, began imagining a new space around the moving target of the sale/build (a challenging prospect, especially in the midst of financial and industry disruption). Those designs were temporarily paused while escalating construction costs and complicated parking negotiations played out, affecting the footprint of the campus building. The Design Steering Committee recently reconvened around a second design strategy that was presented to the board in May and to employees shortly thereafter. “The new architectural approach presents a building mass which presents a series of terraces opening outward to views of Pomona and significant historic structures nearby,” notes Chan.

A note about parking and construction
Assumptions based on the best available information at the time concerning many elements of the move were done in spring of 2018, but updated realities have affected those assumptions in many areas, such as parking and construction costs. Our original parking strategy relied heavily on 100 percent lease parking from neighbors—an arrangement that shifted recently in its desirability. As a result, we have crafted an amended plan to lease and own that is more to Fuller’s benefit. (In the current plan, Fuller will own 200 parking spaces and lease the balance required by our needs.) Similarly, a year after those original assumptions were made, more realistic calculations that affect design aspirations have been made. A design concept based on extensive internal employee and management interviews about space needs, paired with a very volatile construction market in California (which has seen a major escalation in costs), have resulted in the need to reduce the square footage of the original design, prompting a design recast and considerations of alternative space use.

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