Employees from Off Lease Only’s Out-of-State Department and Business Development Center (BDC) spent Monday morning organizing their new desks after a weekend move to a new facility on Military Trail. The property at 1575 S. Military Trail was once the site of a Kia dealership.
Inside the new BDC, the walls are sky blue, sun filters through large, clean windows and the floor is covered with shiny, new tile. The work space is aesthetic with lots of light and room for personal touches.
“What’s not to like?” said a grinning Out-of-State Manager Bob Harris, as he sat at his new desk in an elevated work station separate from sales personnel. “There’s no carpet, no bugs, a blue interior, nice lighting. The list goes on and on. I have a nice work station and everyone else has their own work stations.”
The BDC and Out of State Department moved from 3731 Lake Worth Road to 1575 S. Military Trail after the lease on the Lake Worth Road facility lapsed. Off Lease Only signed a 5-year lease with an option to renew for 5 years at the Military Trail site.
The new facility is lighter, brighter and bigger than the old one and is situated on about seven acres with four separate buildings on the west side of Military Trail in unincorporated Palm Beach County.
“I like it,” said Out-of-State salesman Jeff Heddin, as he arranged his new desk. “There’s daylight shining in. It’s cheery.”
Added Out-of-State salesman Mo Dutes: “We have much more space for our customers. It’s also closer to Dunkin’ Donuts and there’s an awesome deli across the street.”
For BDC workers, the new move meant their own department in the back, partitioned by custom-built wooden dividers which give each worker privacy and personal space.
No one seemed to miss the old facility on Lake Worth Road.
“We used to call it the green monster,” chuckled Ashley Smith, BDC supervisor, referring to the old building’s ancient green carpet. “It was probably like a ‘70s office carpet. This is good for morale.
“Every agent has a desk and a phone and their own cubby,” Smith said. “There’s definitely more privacy. We didn’t have much room before. They can bring in their own personal things. We have enough room for everybody.”
BDC agents answer all the incoming phone calls, answer questions and take incoming leads.
The move is the first phase of a three-phase project. The second phase will include the relocation of the Boutwell lot, at 2131 Boutwell North, to 1575 S. Military Trail. The third phase will involve the creation of an Off Lease Only service department within existing service bays on the Military Trail lot. The building is in place but requires renovation, said Off Lease Only Operations Manager Ryan Little.
Getting the new BDC ready to occupy was a challenge that was completed in less than a month. Little and a determined crew of six workers from the Lake Worth detail group spent weekends and nights gutting the Military Trail facility, which had been vacant for at least a year. Little’s crew removed 2 1/2 dumpsters, or 50 yards, of junk, debris and old furniture from the building so renovations could begin. They hauled construction trash, tore down walls and cleaned up filth so the building would be ready to use starting April 13th.
“It was disgusting,” Little said. Because some parts of the property are remote, the remains of temporary homeless encampments also had to be removed. The western part of the property borders on a small lake.
“Getting the BDC operational and out-of-state operational was the most important thing. Come April 15th, the BDC and Out-of-State had to move out of their (former) building,” Little said. Little’s workers began moving office equipment from the old BDC at about 5 p.m. on April 12, 2014, and worked until about 2 a.m. to get the job done. Information technology crews also worked late hooking up computers and making sure phones were in working order.
Eventually, the entire property will be encircled by a permanent fence, Little said. Meanwhile, trees are being planted, the parking lot has been pressure-washed and the old Kia signs have been taken down.
The intent is to eventually consolidate operations at Military Trail: Vehicles will come directly out of receiving and be detailed and photographed and repaired on site instead of having to be taken elsewhere for repairs, Little explained.
“Everything will happen here,” Little said. “It will make us a lot more efficient.”
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