Rotating above the reception area at the new, souped-up Edmunds headquarters in Santa Monica are two Chevrolet Corvette sports cars, one from 1966 and one recently purchased 2016 edition.
They’re the shining centerpieces of the car information and shopping network’s fully renovated, 143,000-square-foot offices at the Colorado Center, which opened last month as the company celebrates its 50th anniversary.
“We wanted to make a big statement when people enter the space that really recognizes the 50-year heritage that we have as a company,” CEO Avi Steinlauf said.
And it’s a heritage that is closely tied to Santa Monica.
Edmunds has been a corporate tenant in town since 1999, when it occupied space in what was then known as MGM Plaza and, later, as the Yahoo! Center. The company relocated in late 2006 to the nearby Water Garden, where it remained for nearly a last decade. The approximately 550 local employees on July 18 moved back across the street to the company’s former home, which is now known as the Colorado Center.
As company executives considered options for their latest transition, they couldn’t envision leaving Santa Monica.
“We like where it is on the west side of L.A., we like the fact that it’s close to freeways, the fact that it’s close to the beach, and that it’s such a great place to live and work,” Steinlauf said. “It has had us committed to remaining in Santa Monica. It was a bit of a challenge finding as much space as we did, that we’re knowingly paying a premium for, but for our people there isn’t a better place to be.”
The Edmunds headquarters, on Colorado Avenue between Cloverfield Boulevard and 26th Street, look nothing like they did 10 years ago. Designed by Las Vegas-based M+M Creative Studio, the two-story office boasts flexible walls that fold away and 19,000 square feet of whiteboard space, among other features.
The first floor has conference rooms, booths and other communal work spaces. The second floor is reserved for desks in a layout that has no closed offices. All of Steinlauf’s employees, including the chairman and the human relations director, are out in the open.
Balconies, quiet rooms and nursing lounges were included in the renovations. So were two large saltwater tanks, which are home to scores of fish. Connecting the two floors is a 32-foot stainless steel slide.
There’s a 1948 Cadillac Fleetwood that’s been repurposed as a beer tap, coffee bar and DJ booth. There are frozen yogurt dispensers and a popcorn machine as well as cereal and milk stations, fresh fruit and special bagel breakfasts on Fridays.
Many of the amenities were implemented to make employees feel comfortable and to facilitate interactions between them, Steinlauf said.
“It’s today’s version of the water cooler, but on steroids,” he said. “It’s important to make it an attractive environment. We’ve invested here in Santa Monica, and we think we’ll continue to see the kind of success we want in this type of environment.”