Inside McKinney's Renovated Offices in Durham, N.C.

Refreshing our home on the American Tobacco Campus

We moved into our Durham, N.C., headquarters back in 2004, a space we designed to foster collaboration and stimulate creativity, and it's worked out perfectly. But you can always make something better. So, while our building is already nothing short of amazing, we've got a few tricks up our sleeve in 2019 to renovate and refresh our home base here in the Bull City. 

Elanah Abrams, our director of creative resources, is overseeing the renovations that will take this 117-year-old factory building and our agency further into the future while providing the fuel that powers the maker culture here. "The No. 1 priority was supporting energy within the agency," Abrams says. "Creativity is not a passive thing." 

The renovations will enhance the way we work together, bring in more natural light (no more mining helmets for us), and add some garage doors inside the building, as one does. Everybody feng shui tonight! 

Gotham City has the Bat Signal. Durham has the Lucky Strike Tower. Our home on the American Tobacco Campus can be a little confusing to find, so this tower comes in handy as a guidepost. Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird. It's a plane. It's McKinney! Or just use Waze, your call. 

There's no truth to the rumor that the smokestack gave off a plume of white smoke when Joe Maglio was named CEO. 

Above is the new space we built out for our junior creatives. And it's amazing how they upped their game once they started thinking of it as an escape room. Kidding! 

In actuality, this is what eventually became "Parliament"—our presentation theater. The entirety of our space in the ATC's Reed Building looked like this after they took it down to the studs—but it looked even worse before the restoration got started. A "bird shit and rat shit everywhere and trees growing out of walls" kind of worse. 

Here is Parliament in all its rehabilitated glory. It's where we hold everything from client meetings, all-agency gatherings and Super Bowl parties to the American Underground's Startup Stampede, North Carolina Central's Marketing Challenge, lunch-and-learns, and screenings of a series of employee-curated films.

Behold the Brand Tower. These living, breathing shadowboxes are where we hold a great many of our meetings throughout the day. Originally, they were numbered, but we recently renamed them after groups of animals: Battery, Squadron, Army, and Smack. It can be a little confusing, but when the category of animal groups finally surfaces in pub trivia, we're going to KILL it.  

This is what passes for a hallway in our open-floor plan. Like coming up with a great idea, there really isn't one straight path to get anywhere in our building. Of course, there's nowhere to hide, either. 

Wrigley Field has nothing on us. The Bleachers are the place to be when we're meeting BIG. It's also where McKinneyites can lounge, hold impromptu check-ins or—when we drop our big screen—watch Halloween screamfests, World Cup soccer, or keep track of brackets during March Madness. 

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Kevin Grealey
Kevin Grealey is brand journalist at McKinney.