NRG Energy, already overflowing its corporate headquarters at 211 Carnegie Center, has found a site for a new and larger HQ — across Route 1 on the Carnegie Center’s west side, in a three-story, 130,000-square-foot building to be occupied at the beginning of 2016. The deal was formalized last fall when NRG signed a 15-year lease on the new office, which will be built by Boston Properties, the owner of the 560-acre office park.
Boston Properties’ Mickey Landis said the new building — being referred to as 804 Carnegie Center — will be located on the west side of Route 1, near 701 Carnegie Center, according to plans that Boston Properties filed with West Windsor Township. It will be Boston’s first new construction at Carnegie Center since Carnegie 701 was completed in 2009, with Princeton University as a tenant.
The other recent addition to the complex, the 88,000 square-foot 300 Carnegie Center, was built on spec by Hilton Realty, finished in May, 2013, and was more than half occupied as of January.
Landis said the new office space will be similar in layout to the NRG’s current office space, a one-story building opposite the Princeton Post Office that is more of an open “collaborative work environment” than a traditional office building. In addition to the staff at 211 Carnegie, NRG also has employees on two floors of 104 Carnegie Center. Its total square footage occupied now is estimated at 80,000 square feet. The move to the new building will result in the absorption of 50,000 feet.
NRG, an energy holding company, owns power plants and other energy facilities all over the country. Together its assets generate enough electricity to power 40 million homes. In 2004 it moved its headquarters from Minneapolis to Carnegie Center.
Though Landis couldn’t go into more detail about the design of the headquarters — it’s still early in the process — a possible clue to NRG’s direction lies in the new headquarters it built in downtown Houston in 2011, when it acquired Reliant Energy. As described in Work Design Magazine, the 262,000 square-foot building has identical L-shaped workstations for all its employees, with the “L” providing extra workspace compared to a straight desk and kept below 42 inches so everyone can get sunlight.
NRG is already known for its egalitarian desk structure, where everyone from the CEO down to the newest hire has the same sized desk. The 2011 update was an improvement on the design, solving a few of the limitations of the older model.
In Houston, each floor has numerous “huddle rooms” of various sizes for meetings. The design of the Houston building is open and airy, but each floor is subdivided into four large rooms to avoid having a large number of noisy open workstations.
NRG strives for an environmentally friendly image. It operates several solar and wind power plants in addition to its large portfolio of natural gas, coal, and oil plants. As of September, about 3,300 megawatts of the company’s 46,000 megawatt capacity came from wind and solar sources.
Landis said the company requested the new building be constructed to a high level of energy efficiency. Boston is hoping the building will receive a “gold” level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, though “silver” is also a possibility.
“It will be state-of-the-art in this area for sustainable initiatives,” Landis said.