Since its founding over 50 years ago, Waterfront Federal Credit Union has based its success not only on its core SEG of the Longshoremen Union, but also by growing through its affiliation with other unions in the area. They take pride in being an exclusive, not-for-profit financial cooperative for the many union organizations they welcome. With an expiring lease approaching Waterfront Federal Credit Union decided it was time to relocate and modernize a new owned space. As they began the project they kept in mind that the importance of showing their dedication and loyalty to their members and employees, and in such a way that didn’t come across like they were flaunting their stakeholder’s money. In the end the final result reflected this core goal with La Macchia Group designing the project through the eyes of how the community would see and experience it. The collaboration and passion behind this partnership shows through in the unique details that this main office is made of.
La Macchia Group kicked off their partnership with Waterfront Federal Credit Union by analyzing their current market to see if they were geographically set up for success. The GIS experts at La Macchia Group specifically focused on SEG-related patterns to see how their current union members traveled and used their previous facility. Since Waterfront Federal Credit Union is a smaller financial institution, they knew the importance of getting this project right. With that in mind, they trusted La Macchia Group’s recommendations, backed by data, to ultimately make decisions. Once the choice was finalized to relocate to a new Seattle location, the real challenge began. Finding an affordable solution in an extremely inflated real estate market would be no easy task. To help ensure Waterfront Federal Credit Union acquired the right-sized building, La Macchia Group completed a space planning program which presented a target building size for procurement. After 9 months of real estate selection, a diamond in the rough was found which needed to be secured quickly. The beauty is that Waterfront was already empowered to make such a decision. By having a market analysis and space planning program in hand, the Credit Union was able to pull the trigger and place under contract the right location. Through building due diligence, La Macchia Group continued to assist Waterfront Federal Credit Union through the purchase of this 1940’s multi-tenant building and additionally with the lease negotiations between some of the existing tenants.
Visually Embracing a Real, Passionate Culture
Waterfront Federal Credit Union reciprocates its members’ loyalty in new and unique ways.. They differentiate themselves in the industry by incorporating a “come-as-you-are, we understand, we won’t judge and we’re here to help” approach. Knowing this objective, La Macchia Group worked with Waterfront to create an experience for them that hit close to home – using materials and tones that they see and feel every day. For example, in the credit union’s branch lobby, you will see a branded mural representing the client’s Field Of Membership and the city it resides in. Orange accent furniture plays off the primary brand color blue, which is used throughout. An LED recess soffit was installed directly above the lounge to light up the waiting area. Blue metal panels were installed to mimic shipping containers as a way to further bring out and highlight the membership that Waterfront serves.
Providing a Collaborative yet Secure Environment
Because of their unique clientele and culture, Waterfront Federal Credit Union wanted to create a space that was open and collaborative. Yet this was a challenge given the hustle and bustle nature of the surrounding neighborhood. Thus La Macchia Group aimed at creating a secure plan that gives a clear vantage point at all angles. This aids in giving the feeling of both key experiences- they have the open collaborative atmosphere, but because of the visibility of every inch of the space yet guests and employees feel secure knowing where others are within the branch. A black T-bar glass office system is installed throughout the building to give a substantial look that is on-point with the aesthetics of the building. This system is both aesthetically aligned with the building façade as well as acoustically sound and secure, with sleek locking bars at each office.
Proving to be a Technology-Forward Organization
Despite this Waterfront’s more blue-collar membership, the Credit Union wanted to prove that they were current and competitive in an ever-increasing digital world. They engaged Vivalociti, powered by La Macchia Group, as its technology partner in the design and integration of the space. Upon learning of the project goals, Vivalociti took great care in designing the space to empower their membership rather than intimidate them. Integrated LED monitors stand proud behind the main lobby space, framing the credit union’s 3-dimensional logomark and “floating on” a soft textural water element. A welcoming tech bar casually greets guests as they enter the lobby. And it didn’t stop in the lobby. Special effort was put into offering their Board of Directors a seamless video-conferencing experience, Vivalociti helped integrate a robust video-conferencing system in their branded board room, including full-range mics and speakers, as well as a wide-angle camera on their large-format video monitor.
In the end, La Macchia Group was able to elevate Waterfront’s member and employee experience. By integrating all things from a Market Analysis through Real Estate procurement, member focused design and technology integration and construction by using local union subcontractor partners the project became a success and reflection of Waterfront’s bright future.