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By Riley Kaminer

Member Spotlight | Boca Raton Innovation Campus

Read Time 3 Minutes

Business: Provides office space and fosters a community among innovators in the South Florida tech ecosystem

Launched: Originally built in the 1960s, upgraded in 2005 and 2018

Location: Boca Raton

Size: 1.7 million square-foot campus situated on 123 acres; 36 tenants with a cumulative 6,000 employees

Website: WorkAtBRiC.com

Innovation rarely happens in isolation. Collaboration is key – bringing together people with different backgrounds, perspectives, and expertise to catalyze and crystalize the next big idea.

The Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRiC) aims to be the nexus for collaboration in South Florida and beyond. The office park is known for its iconic modernist style, designed by world-renowned Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer. 

The facilities were originally built for IBM, and it was on this site in 1981 that the world’s first personal computer was invented. Now it houses a wide range of South Florida’s most innovative firms, from local healthtech success story Modernizing Medicine to photography pioneer Canon.

Giana Pacinelli, Marketing Director for CP Group, the landlord and property management team for BRiC, explained their goal of “taking BRiC’s history and bringing it to the future.” She said that CP Group aims to harness the campus’s storied past as a space for innovation while also providing the amenities that will impress even the most discerning tenants.

Pacinelli noted BRiC’s “Google-style” facilities, including a lush campus with seven miles of walking paths and amenities like a dining hall that converts into a 1,000-person capacity presentation hall, two coffee shops, and a recently-renovated fitness center. Soon, they plan to open an autonomous grab-and-go store that will enable workers to purchase staples like bread and produce through a completely contactless system.

Currently, BRiC is zoned strictly for commercial office use. However, Pacinelli explained that they are now working with the city to rezone the campus to make it a “true live-work-play ecosystem.” The vision is to create a 15-minute city that residents can walk around and access everything they need – from work and living spaces to medical facilities and restaurants.

“In order to do all of that, we need to rezone BRiC,” said Pacinelli, underscoring the property’s interest in attracting big businesses and international meetings.

CP Group has put together a campaign to connect with the community. By visiting WorkAtBRiC.com/Support, Boca Raton residents can sign a letter to show their support for BRiC’s plans. Through this link, neighbors can also schedule a tour of the campus.

While work for home became a daily reality for many South Floridians during the pandemic, Pacinelli said that CP Group is “bullish that people will return to the office.” She evidenced the recent uptick in employees returning to the office as a signal that trend of workers returning to the office will continue

“Work has successfully invaded our personal lives,” she explained, noting that heading to an office can help create much-needed barriers between work and personal lives. Many of BRiC’s tenants have refreshed their workspaces to include more spaces for collaboration. BRiC also has imminent plans to unveil a co-working space later this year.

By Nancy Dahlberg

Member Spotlight | BRIC

Read Time 4 Minutes

What is BRIC? Boca Raton Innovation Campus, on the former site of IBM

Developer: Crocker Partners LLC, a Boca Raton-based real estate company

Website: workatbric.com (check out the events page)

Address: 4920 Conference Way North, Boca Raton

Home to: 36 companies and organizations so far, and counting

Coming soon: $28 million renovation of Amenity Corridor

In the ‘70s and ‘80s, IBM’s research & development campus in Boca Raton bustled with innovation.

The huge office building housed several firsts, most notably as the place where the world first personal computer was invented by Philip “Don” Estridge and his IBM team and introduced to the world in 1981.

It was also home to the first smartphone, Simon, and it was said to be the place where Bill Gates made his notorious licensing deal, licensing his operating system to IBM instead of selling it to them so he could license it to others and become Microsoft. The building itself, featuring a Y-shaped design by architect Marcel Breuer, was considered an engineering marvel for its day when it opened in 1970 and was designed to withstand a Cat-5.

That’s what made the purchase of the office complex in 2018 so special, said Giana Pacinelli, marketing director of Crocker Partners, a commercial real estate company headquartered in Boca Raton. Last April, Crocker purchased the 1.7 million square foot property, which had been expanded over the years and had changed hands a couple of times since IBM sold the property in 1996. It’s now called BRIC, the Boca Raton Innovation Campus.

Crocker has big plans for BRIC as it welcomes today’s new wave of technology innovators.

“Our goal is to take that past and bring it into the future so the campus continues to be a place where innovation happens,” said Pacinelli, adding that the giant office park is now home to 36 companies and organizations, including corporate and regional headquarters.

“We want to make it a destination, not just for the organizations that work on the campus but a destination for the entire community to enjoy, which is why we are partnering with Palm Beach Tech. We are hosting a lot of programming on campus. We have a program board of 11 community leaders that helps us put together programs. We partner with TedX Boca Raton to do speaking events on campus.”

Over the next year or so, BRIC’s Amenity Corridor will undergo a $28 million renovation. The renovated section will  include a STEAM Lab equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters and other equipment. Tenants can rent it out and BRIC will also house programming there for local organizations and schools. Hungry? There will be a food hall with seven  restaurants open to the public and a 1,200-seat dining hall that can also serve as a presentation hall. Also planned is a wellness center with an onsite nurse, two coffee shops and a co-working space. “It’s exciting times for us,” Pacinelli said.

Already, there are inviting outdoor spaces to work or relax, with miles of walking and bike paths, a conference center that can seat up to 400 where events are now held and a fitness center tenants can use. With the renovation will come special studios for yoga, pilates and the like.

Health-tech company Modernizing Medicine relocated its headquarters – and its more than 800 employees – to BRIC in January. BRIC is also home to MobileHelp, MDVIP, Transunion, BlueGreen Vacations and Shoes for Crews, among others. “We are the largest single office facility in the state. … We’ve been moving very quickly,” said Pacinelli.

 “Boca Raton has been Crocker’s home for years. We helped build Mizner Park and Crocker Center – we’ve been around for over 35 years. We want to make this a special place where we can bring technology companies and jobs and really just revitalize the area. The property, when IBM housed it,  was a very closed off, very secretive space, but now we want to open it up to the community.”

Member Spotlight | Boca Raton Innovation Campus
Member Spotlight | BRIC