By Michael McCord
HAMPTON — A local landmark building constructed in 1975 could have a productive second life far into the 21st century.
One Liberty Lane, the former corporate headquarters of Thermo Fisher Scientific, has been transformed into 110,000 square feet of new executive office space and an event conference center. Its executive director, Kim Regan, says it’s a perfect merging of local tradition and future potential.
“It’s such a piece of history in Hampton,” said Regan, who came on board two months ago and previously worked as the sales and marketing manager for EastPoint Executive Centers in Bedford and Nashua. “The building as designed was really made for the future.”
After more than a year-long, extensive six-figure renovation, One Liberty Lane is now open to the public for a variety of capacities, including executive and commercial office space leasing and serving as a premier event and conference center. On Aug. 25, it will host a grand opening celebration and open house in conjunction with local chambers of commerce from Portsmouth, Exeter and Hampton. This event marks the first time that One Liberty Lane property will be open to the public.
Regan said One Liberty Lane will offer value among its many selling points — a variety of price ranges, amenities such as a fitness center and restaurant and underground parking, and a wood-lined, central location near Route 101 and Interstate 95 at the Liberty Lane Corporate Park, which can draw from southern Maine, southern New Hampshire and the Boston area.
“The economy is tough and a lot of people have reinvented themselves by forming new small companies,” she said. “There is an ongoing need for them to project a professional image as they grow their small businesses. There are quite a number of small companies who have outgrown their original spaces and in-between smaller commercial space is very hard to find.”
Altogether, Regan said, there is 80,000 square feet of commercial space that covers some 50 executive office suites, eight large commercial space areas and 18,000 square feet of conference and event space. She said that negotiations are ongoing for a well-known Seacoast restaurant to take over restaurant operations and provide on-site catering.
Regan said the property’s flexibility allows it to host a wide range of events, from a small business meeting and office party to industry conferences and weddings — and a high-security location for political gatherings as the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary season approaches.
“For weddings, we think a beautiful picture will be a bride walking down a spiral staircase,” she said. “But we can do meetings and events of all sizes with so many amenities as part of the package.”
One Liberty Lane was designed by the Boston architecture firm of Royal Barry Wills Associates. It was built in 1975 within a 26-acre private campus, first as the state-of-the-art corporate headquarters for Wheelabrator Technologies, and was most recently the home of Fisher Scientific Corporation. When Fisher Scientific and Thermo Electron merged in late 2006, the stately brick building — which also housed a climate-controlled wine cellar, greenhouse and helipad — was no longer needed as a corporate headquarters.
The Milford-based real estate investment firm R.J. Finlay & Co. bought the property from Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2009 for $3.4 million. Regan said initially, it was unclear exactly what to do with such a prime property.
“We looked to lease strictly to one commercial tenant,” she said. “There was a lot of head scratching and it took quite a while.”
The decision was made to transform the property, Reagan explained, into a multi-tenant facility and conference center with amenities of a world-class corporate headquarters at reasonable rates. A major face lift began and she said One Liberty Lane is ready for public viewing.
“We intend on being a big part of the community,” Regan said. “A lot of people see this building as a mystery. We want to make sure they all to come to the open house.”