A little more than a year after it relocated to Kansas City, Virgin Mobile USA moved into its new downtown headquarters in One Kansas City Place.
The Sprint Corp. prepaid subsidiary moved into its 11,000-square-foot headquarters in August, after working from a temporary space a few floors below. With its bright red, arched entrance, the office is a nod to Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. His U.K.-based conglomerate founded Virgin Mobile USA through a joint venture with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. before Sprint bought out the company in 2009.
The entryway includes nods to Virgin Group’s other brands, including a dog statue from Virgin Hotels’ dog-friendly rooms and a piece of steel from Virgin Voyages, Branson’s new cruise line. It also includes a photo of Virgin Mobile CEO Dow Draper and Branson grinning at Virgin Mobile’s relaunch in San Francisco.
Virgin Mobile spent the summer renovating the vacant space on the 24th floor, with the help of Kansas City’s GastingerWalker&, which provided architecture and design services; Lankford Fendler + Associates, which provided engineering; and project manager CBRE.
Sommer Reece, an interior designer with GastingerWalker&, said the planning and design process took only about six weeks.
“The planning and design was really fast,” she said. “Everybody was really motivated by the need to get these guys in a real space and make it more attractive for the hiring process.”
Although the entryway is the office's focal point, the rest keeps Virgin branding to a minimum, focusing instead on open office spaces with lots of glass and light wood. The space, Reece said, is planned to encourage impromptu conversations and flexibility as the company grows.
“From zero up, we were trying to keep it flexible, so as they grew in different directions they wouldn’t be boxed in,” Reece said. “We wanted to make it easier over time to adapt.”
Between its glass conference room, design spaces and lounge area, the office is missing only one thing: walled-in offices.
Reece said this was intentional, to encourage a lead-by-example mentality, with executives sitting in the same row of desks as the rest of the staff.
“From the leadership down, everyone’s in the same space working with each other,” she said.
Now at 63 employees, Virgin Mobile is hiring for six positions, bringing its head count to 69 people. Justin Scott, communications director for Virgin, estimated that the office space could hold a maximum of 100.
“It’s all been centralized here,” he said. “Having the backbone of Sprint out in Overland Park 30 minutes away is nice, too.”
Most of Virgin's current positions are focused on marketing, web development and tech. The company relaunched as an Apple exclusive brand, with a temporary promotion for a free year of service, but still will accommodate Android users. With the launch of the iPhone 8, Virgin hopes to resell refurbished iPhone 7s with a warranty through its agreement with Apple.