Photography by Mike Rebholz, provided by Potter Lawson.
A New Home for WHEDites
For an organization that specializes in housing, WHEDA has never had a true home of its own. Since its inception in 1972, the Authority has moved in and out of multiple office spaces in downtown Madison. With the inevitable end of another contract, the WHEDA Design Team was created in 2018 to brainstorm the future of WHEDA’s Headquarters. It was decided that the company could significantly benefit from having a permanent residence, and so the search began for the perfect location.
In Fall 2020, WHEDA broke ground on its new headquarters located at 908 East Main Street in Madison, Wisconsin. The building was designed by Potter Lawson, Inc. who worked closely with the WHEDA Design Team to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Some of the building’s sustainable features include state-of-the-art heating and cooling, energy efficient lighting, bird-safety glass, and a rooftop garden.
Potter Lawson was recognized for excellence in architectural design by the 2023 Design Awards Program of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Wisconsin and the WHEDA Headquarters won a 2023 Merit Award.
Throughout the two-year construction process, employees were kept up to date with the project through monthly All Staff Meetings, the bi-weekly employee newsletter, and building status emails that showcased construction updates. Nearing the final phase of construction, employees also had the opportunity to tour and experience the building prior to the big move. In addition to internal communications, WHEDA’s Marketing and Communications team worked on a Communications Plan to inform stakeholders of the change as well as transition all print and digital collateral to a new address.
There were many unexpected challenges and delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues, and personnel shortages, but the Authority successfully completed construction and moved into its new headquarters without disruption to business. In the span of one weekend following the move, WHEDA’s IT Team installed, configured, and tested a brand-new network and data center, which is 50% faster than any previous system.
WHEDA officially moved into its Madison Headquarters in February 2022, which offers 93,000 square feet of wonderful spaces for WHEDA employees to engage, collaborate, learn, and enjoy. In addition to the environmentally friendly aspects, there are unique spaces such as the Work Café, huddle areas, a fitness room, outdoor patio, and a training center. It also connects to a ramp where all employees and vendors have free parking if they so choose.
The new office space was designed to support the current and future needs of WHEDA with the most important aspect in mind, its employees. We are proud to have utilized emerging and diverse-owned businesses for 36% of building expenses. It has been a full-circle mission moment to be a part of the revitalization of the East Washington Corridor as we continue to work toward a thriving Wisconsin.