Liberty Mutual’s towering Plano regional campus is almost half full

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In the ground floor lobby of Liberty Mutual Insurance’s new Plano office, narrow, undulating panels of stone line the wall above the reception desk.

"We tried to mirror the folds of Lady Liberty’s gown in the stone," said Sean Murphy, Liberty Mutual’s director of design and construction. "We wanted this building to have it’s own identity.

"We didn’t just want to drop in part of our Boston headquarters."

The company’s brand name with the Statue of Liberty is emblazoned high on the outside of its new glass towers.

The last of the four big business anchors in Plano’s $3 billion Legacy West project, Liberty Mutual’s more than 1 million-square-foot regional office is much different than it’s corporate neighbors.

While Toyota, JPMorgan Chase and FedEx Office’s buildings sprawl across the Collin County landscape, Liberty Mutual’s towers soar above their neighbors. The two 19-story towers are perched atop of a 7-story parking garage at the corner of the Dallas North Tollway and Headquarters Drive, just south of State Highway 121.

Designed by Dallas architect Omniplan, the insurance giant’s new digs cost more than $325 million and started construction back in 2015.

Liberty Mutual is still moving workers into the project.

"We’ve moved in about 2,300," Murphy said. "We’ve built it to accommodate almost 5,000 people.

"Before people were spread around in multiple offices in North Texas," he said. "We have consolidated six locations."

A thousand of those workers are in two huge call centers. Instead of hiding the consumer services operations in some dark corner of the campus, the call centers are on the huge eighth floor of the new complex.

With 250,000 square feet, the eighth floor connects the two towers and the 4,500-space parking garage with food service facilities, a fitness center, health service facilities and two conference centers.

"This eighth floor is the equivalent of five football fields, but we’ve designed it in such a way that it doesn’t feel too big," Murphy said.

Two open-air courtyards bring plants and light into the huge area. Food service stations and a Starbucks coffee shop are in the center area called Town Square, which can seat 400.

Located across the street from the Legacy West Urban Village, Liberty Mutual’s offices are a short walk to dozens of new eateries, watering holes and apartments. Two high-rise residential buildings are being built next door.

"Liberty Mutual embraced the live, work, play ethic more so than anybody else in Legacy West," said Colin Fitzgibbons, senior vice president with project developer KDC. "They chose this site which is right across the street from all the action.

"The way they designed the building maximizes the view of the neighborhood," Fitzgibbons said. "This was the tallest building in Plano until recently. You have fantastic views — you can almost see Oklahoma."

Liberty Mutual didn’t land in West Plano for the scenery. Murphy, the company’s design director, said they picked the location to maximize their investment in future workforce.

"Companies are focused on hiring and retention, that’s why they need a facility like this," he said. "One of the reasons we came to Plano is it’s a real good place to attract talent."

To make the most of its real estate investment, Liberty Mutual’s office floors use open workspaces.

Some employees aren’t’ assigned seats but have lockers to keep their personal items. A recent survey of office users found more than half are moving away from personal workspaces.

The heavy spending on common areas and amenities might seem at odds with the more frugal office layouts that are common in the latest employment centers.

"We’re all trying to build the workplace of tomorrow," Murphy said. "We are trying to reduce our real estate footprint but you have to make it attractive to your employees."

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