Midvale—After Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne jumped out of an airplane and landed on the future site of the company’s new headquarters at its groundbreaking two years ago, no one should have been surprised to see the theatrics that went into the ribbon cutting Friday.
Centurions clad in golden armor and scarlet capes held the ribbon while Byrne cut it with a sword and white doves fluttered overhead for the new Overstock.com Peace Coliseum. Built circularly and in a style reminiscent of the Roman monument, the three spokes in the wheel-and-spoke design form a peace symbol when viewed from overhead.
“I wanted it to be a place of community that would stand for a long time,” Byrne said in his remarks at the ribbon cutting, which included dignitaries such as Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Jason Chaffetz, Rep. Mia Love and other state and local officials.
The fact that the building is on the flight path to the Salt Lake City International Airport further helps spread the word that Overstock, while tough in business and commerce, also promotes peace and harmony within its walls, he said.
Meghan Touhig, vice president of campus care and design for Overstock.com, was in charge of the initial design of the project and working with architects and developers to ensure the atmosphere and amenities of the 19-acre campus matched the company’s vision. The campus includes cafes featuring healthy food for a variety of dietary restrictions, a gym, a doctor-staffed health clinic and a daycare.
The roughly 30,000 square feet of glass on the exterior of the building is high-tech View Dynamic Glass, which darkens in reaction to light much like Transitions Lenses and could reduce the building’s heating and cooling needs by up to 21 percent. A state-of-the-art data center, along with the rest of the building, is temperature controlled by a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system. The open-air center of the building, between the peace-sign spokes, featured gathering areas, fire pits and grills for workers looking for a quick change of scenery or team leaders in search of a team-building activity. The building is also located a stone’s throw from a UTA Trax stop and bus station.
“Every inch of this campus was built with the health and happiness of the employees in mind,” she said.
The gleaming building of wood, metal and glass is even more impressive considering the sordid past of that parcel of land, said Midvale City Mayor JoAnn B. Seghini. A wartime factory on the parcel left the land as a superfund site. With hard work, determination and collaboration between the previous land owner, the city and the federal government, the plot was restored, said Seghini, who called the Overstock.com headquarters the “Starship Enterprise of buildings.”
“We didn’t think this would be used for anything. In fact, the EPA told us it could not,” she said. “Now you see in the middle of the valley, one of the finest buildings in the state.”