In with the old, says Bayada Home Health Care, a major home health care provider which recently moved its New Jersey headquarters to a 159-year-old home.
The company, which started operating in 1975, moved its Morristown, New Jersey, headquarters into a 19th century residence at the beginning of the year. For Bayada, the move represented a significant milestone: it’s the first building the company has ever purchased, according to Janice Lovequist, the company’s HQ manager and daughter to its founder and chairman, Mark Baiada.
Bayada employs 25,000 nurses, therapists, aides, and other clinicians who work from more than 325 offices across 22 states. For decades, Bayada ran that operation out of an unassuming office behind a convenience store—until the growing company got too big for its longtime rental digs.
“In our old space, it was so small we didn’t have a conference room,” Lovequist recalled.
In 2015, the company landed on a spacious home located along Morristown’s main drag. Built in 1858, the building saw its fair share of occupants over the years, including its original owner, John Buzby; a beauty shop; two different hotels and, most recently, a real estate agency.
“The day it went up on market, we pounced on it,” Lovequist said.
Buying the space outright allowed Bayada to build exactly what it wanted. The three-story house needed plenty of work to bring it back to its former glory, though. Its most recent tenant had installed drop ceilings, laminate flooring, and partition walls, all of which marred much of the home’s original architectural flair.
So, Bayada hired Historic Building Architects, a New Jersey specializing in historic preservation, to completely revamp the space. Over the course of about two years, the building underwent an extensive demolition process followed by major construction with special attention paid to period-specific detail. Bayada declined to state how much was spent on renovations and the purchase price of the home.
“[Mark Baiada] wanted to restore this building sort of like the same way we go into people’s homes and restore their lives,” Lovequist said. “He definitely saw that connection.”
The end result was a modern office workspace full of homelike touches such as hardwood floors, upholstered furniture, plaster walls, period-appropriate wallpaper, framed artwork and ornate rugs.Click to view slideshow.
“We wanted it to function as an office but also really feel like a home,” she added. “Not only because of the work we do, but because its in the center of the community, and we wanted to invite people in and host events.”
‘Welcome and warm’
One of the advantages Bayada’s headquarters holds is flexibility. Though around five people usually work in the space on a full-time basis counting Mark Baiada, there’s plenty of room for visiting employees to grab a seat at one of six open desks or plop down on a couch.
The headquarters also has three conference rooms, a traditional living room and a reception area, which are used for meetings or events. For example, Bayada held a full Thanksgiving feast for members of the Korean Diabetes Association (KDA) during a cultural exchange event earlier this year.
“None of them had ever had a Thanksgiving dinner,” Lovequist said. “We had a turkey right in the center of the table.”
Bayada’s headquarters is in close proximity to the heart of Morristown, with shops, restaurants and boutiques all nearby. The home health care company sees its community connection as a point of pride, especially as many other senior care companies are moving into towering downtown offices and buildings with rooftop views.
“We’ve even been talking about that more with our local service office spaces,” Lovequist said. “We don’t want them to feel super corporate and professional. We want people to feel welcome and warm.”
Written by Tim Regan