“Capital One is really a technology company disguised as a bank.”
That’s from Gov. John Carney, speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the financial institution’s newly renovated downtown offices on Monday.
“The workforce that you have here is so important and technically based,” he said. “Part of our obligation as a state and a city is to is to make sure that we’re developing a workforce that can work here and in other financial services institutions.”
A tour of one of the 11 fully renovated floors reveals that it’s not so disguised anymore. The space, designed by Gensler and built by Wilmington’s Wohlsen Construction Company, now has the look and feel of a tech company, from its open workspaces to its full-service coffee bar.
Some departments have offices that are more traditional than others, but for many Capital One employees at 800 and 802 Delaware Ave., it’s essentially a beer keg away from a coworking space in terms of atmosphere.
It’s an aesthetic Capital One — and state and local leadership — hopes adds to the appeal of Wilmington to young, innovative talent, along with projects such as DE.CO, The Residences at Mid-Town Park, the revitalization of Rodney Square and a small business boom on Market Street.
There’s a certain inevitable amount of focus on bringing people to the city from elsewhere, whether they’re commuters from Delaware County, Pennsylvania or Cecil County, Maryland or future transplants to the area. But there’s also talk of investment in the community that’s already here.
“What I think may be the best project in the city would be the Teen Warehouse in the northeast, just adjacent to Kingswood,” said Mayor Mike Purzycki, “which is a whole new concept of getting our kids involved with every helpful activity imaginable, and it’s essentially run by [Capital One].”
Capital One is also heavily involved with Zip Code Wilmington (the graduates of which overwhelmingly go on to enter financial institutions, according to Zip Code’s Janelle Bowman), Coded by Kids and TeenSHARP.
On the 11th floor, a lounge features tables that were made by The Challenge Program, a nonprofit that teaches at-risk youth skills in construction (the program was also involved with the renovation of 4Youth Productions’ Superfine Lane location).
Nearby, a career development center employs a third-party company to help employees keep their LinkedIn profiles updated and steers them to their best careers — even if it isn’t Capital One. As counterintuitive as that may sound, we’ve heard from hiring experts in our markets that employee growth support is actually an effective talent retention tool.
Check out the new space below; all photos were taken by this reporter: