Aging industrial and office structures throughout the U.S. — particularly in the mature markets of the Northeast — offer unique opportunities for owners and developers to think creatively about adapting and reusing obsolete buildings and properties. Rather than demolishing these structures, many developers are transforming them into places that meet the needs of today’s commercial real estate markets. The Campus on Interstate 95 in Stamford, Conn., a former Clairol headquarters and manufacturing facility, is a case in point.
In 1968, Clairol, a women’s hair care brand that began on Long Island in the 1950s, built a 711,000-square-foot corporate headquarters with research and production facilities in Stamford, one hour east of New York City. For 42 years, it owned and occupied the buildings, manufacturing hair care products such as Herbal Essences shampoo there. Clairol eventually sold the business to Bristol-Myers Squibb, which in turn sold it to Proctor & Gamble (P&G) in 2001. Like many other 21st-century American companies, P&G then decided to move its manufacturing operations to Mexico and relocate its executives to P&G’s home office in Cincinnati. Seeking to lower production costs and shed excess corporate real estate, P&G hired Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) to market the facility in late 2007. Although the package received widespread interest and bids from potential buyers, none were able to execute the transaction because of the 2008 capital markets meltdown.