Oil company reducing footprint of downtown Denver HQ in move across street

wells fargo center

The Wells Fargo Center at 1700 Lincoln St. (Kate Tracy)

A 38-year-old oil company is moving its Denver headquarters for the first time, reducing its office footprint as it shuffles across the street.

Whiting Petroleum Corp. has leased approximately 135,000 square feet across five floors of the Wells Fargo Center at 1700 Lincoln St., a company spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

Whiting currently occupies approximately 220,000 square feet across 11 floors at 1700 Broadway, spokeswoman Ashley McNamee said.

“We’ve never moved our headquarters,” she said. “It’s a big deal for us to make that change.”

While the new office is more than one-third smaller, McNamee said all of the roughly 300 employees that currently work at 1700 Broadway will make the move across the street, in two phases expected to wrap up by fall 2019.

McNamee said the office move is part of President and CEO Bradley Holly’s efforts to change the company’s culture. Holly assumed the top roles last November.

“We’ve moved from a discipline-based model to an asset team model,” McNamee said. “We are focused on improving communication and collaboration.”

Whiting will need less office space in Wells Fargo Center because the company will be able “to build it the way we want it, and the way that will be most functional,” McNamee said.

At 1700 Broadway, meanwhile, “We sort of grandfathered in to the spaces that we had here,” McNamee said. A large shared meeting area will be another perk of the Wells Fargo Center.

“Now, we’re renting hotel ballrooms when we need to have a meeting with everyone in our office,” McNamee said.

Whiting develops, produces, acquires and explores for crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids, primarily in the Rocky Mountains region of the United States, according to a recent earnings statement. The company’s largest projects are in the Bakken and Three Forks plays in North Dakota and Montana, and the Niobrara play in northeast Colorado.

The company trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WLL. Shares closed at $53.14 on Tuesday, up nearly 100 percent this year but well below a peak of more than $370 in August 2014.

JLL brokers Jamie Roupp, Kevin Foley and Andy Wilson handle leasing in the Wells Fargo Center on behalf of owner Beacon Capital Partners. Tim Callahan and Doug Wulf of Cushman & Wakefield represented Whiting.

Whiting is the second major lease for the Wells Fargo Center in the past few months. Coworking company WeWork signed on for five floors in the building during the summer.

The building also is seeing some exits. Law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, which occupies 85,000 square feet in the Wells Fargo Center, plans to decamp for a smaller footprint at 1144 15th St. Law firm Ogletree Deakins vacated 16,000 square feet this year, leaving downtown behind.

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