Clarks Unveils New Corporate Office That Mixes Old With New

Clarks Americas celebrated its new U.S. headquarters in Waltham, Mass., on Thursday.

Executives said the modern, open space will help the $3 billion brand’s employees feel creatively inspired while enhancing collaboration and efficiency.

“This environment enables people to sit together and work together constantly, so communication is much faster and slicker than it would be in a building where the infrastructure doesn’t enable that to happen,” said CEO Mike Shearwood, who took the reigns on Sept. 30 as Clarks revs up its plans to re-ignite sales and market share.

Thomas Stanley, State Representative (9th District); Jeannette McCarthy, Mayor of Waltham, Mass.; Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing & Economic Development (Governor’s Cabinet Member); Thomas O’Neill, chairman of the Clarks board (cutting ribbon); Gary Champion, president of Clarks Americas; and Mike Shearwood, Clarks’ new CEO.
CREDIT: Courtesy.

The four-story, 120,000-sq.-ft. building at 60 Tower Rd. is in a former Polaroid factory. The repurposed design has an open floor plan with many “little enclaves of furniture” that will help facilitate impromptu meetings early in design-and-development processes, said Gary Champion, president of Clarks Americas, in an interview. The fresh design, he said, which includes 31 conference rooms, will help the company’s more than 400 employees grow the brand’s U.S./Canada/Latin America businesses, which Shearwood pegged at $1 billion in revenues.

Featuring oak floors and glass accents, the building includes a 55-foot glass “outdent” in the entranceway, a nod to the clock tower of the brand’s home office in Street, England, said Steve Basque, lead architect and principal at Stantec, which designed the building’s interior. Other details include 10-foot factory windows and large English lanterns in what the company calls The Street, or main atrium, where Champion noted that the whole office can comfortably meet to celebrate milestones.

Clarks Desert Boot
Clarks’ iconic desert boot.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Clarks

The building includes a 3,000-sq.-ft. canteen, or kitchen and dining room — with a gas fireplace. There’s also an onsite fitness center, an employee retail store, and two outdoor spaces, including a 3,500-sq.-ft. roof deck with a section that the company hopes to convert into an open-air, wired conference room, complete with a pergola. Employee perks  include a bike-sharing program and covered parking.

The office, roughly 15 miles west of Boston, sits parallel to Interstate 95/128 and alongside a newer retail development with a grocery store, a steakhouse, a Starbucks and a Marshalls store. Boston Properties was the lead developer, and Spagnolo Gisness & Associates designed the building’s exterior.

CLARKS’ tailored boot on stacked mid-heel
Clarks’ tailored boot on stacked mid-heel.

“This is a first-class facility for a first-class company,” said Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy, who helped Clarks Executive Chairman Thomas O’Neil cut the ribbon at the ceremony. “Thank you for coming to Waltham. The British are coming! The British are here, and they have their Clarks on.”

Clarks left its former offices, in Newton Upper Falls, Mass., where it had been for about 20 years. Champion said the lease was up, and the landlord planned to use the building for another purpose.

“I am absolutely amazed at the opportunity that lies ahead. From a U.S. perspective, this building is another stick in the ground — it’s another marker from which we can grow,” Shearwood said.

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