Millwork Commons in Omaha’s north downtown area welcomed a new tenant Thursday with the formal opening of an office space for tech company WP Engine.
The company occupies two floors of the Ashton Building in Millwork Commons.
WP Engine is a WordPress hosting provider. WordPress is a free, open-source content management system that powers about 43% of websites, said Ben Jackson, vice president of products for WP Engine.
The company serves more than 200,000 customers to support websites that are built on the WordPress platform.
WP Engine, which is based in Austin, acquired Omaha-based Flywheel in 2019. Flywheel previously occupied an office on Harney Street in downtown Omaha.
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The new 66,000-square-foot office in Millwork Commons features 47 conference rooms, 19 private phone rooms, multiple lounges, an outdoor patio and a small art gallery. Other amenities include beer taps and wine refrigerators as well as coffee and ice machines.
The building has been ready to go since late May 2020, Jackson said. But the office space officially opened to employees in February.
Jackson said Thursday’s celebration marked the opening of the building to customers, guests and community members.
The Omaha office employs about 155 people. Most employees are working on a hybrid schedule. Fifty to 60 employees work from the office once a week, Jackson said.
WP Engine is hiring to fill 33 new positions in the Omaha office.
The company has put an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion. Over the last year or so, officials have created employee reference groups and a council of employees who share input and feedback, said Tarsha McCormick, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Of the Omaha office’s employees, 33% of the technical employees are women. Half of the employees do not have bachelor’s degrees.
“It’s a barrier we’re removing for people who take a nontraditional pathway into tech,” McCormick said. “We make a conscious choice to embrace our differences, and we want to continue to open our doors wider and create opportunities for more people to have access to tech and to work in tech.”
The Millwork Commons location has a history with startup companies, Jackson said. WP Engine officials see themselves as being part of a “reemergence of north downtown.”
The Ashton Building dates to the late 1800s as a furniture warehouse. It has 180,000 square feet of flexible office space.
Much of the space’s original red brick was maintained and many of the original wood floors were restored.
“We did our best to maintain the integrity of the old space as best as we possibly could,” Jackson said.
Millwork Commons spans more than 50 acres near 13th and Nicholas Streets and includes a collection of retail, residential, event and outdoor spaces with more than 60 tenants.
The Ashton Building also is home to Kros Strain Brewing, Sweet Magnolias Bakery and Archetype Coffee.