Client story

Gregory & Appel’s move bridges historic roots and future expansion

An Indianapolis insurance firm turns an unexpected move into $4 million in savings and a vibrant new workspace


41,609 sq. ft.


$4 million savings package

Gregory & Appel is an insurance company with deep roots in Indianapolis, operating from a building constructed in the early 1900s.

Despite a growing need for a more modern office layout, Gregory & Appel had grown fond of its downtown location, the abundance of natural light and how the character and history of the adaptive reuse matched the insurance company’s culture.

“We were kind of kicking the tires around,” Gregory & Appel CEO Andrew Appel said. “Do we buy something? Do we lease something? We thought we could take our time.”

The Challenge: Attracting and retaining talent in the age of hybrid work

Gregory & Appel found themselves on the precipice of an unexpected real estate hurdle in 2021: A previously slow-moving construction project suddenly escalated, jeopardizing Gregory & Appel’s employee and client experience in their historic building, and pushing them to consider a move sooner than they’d planned.

A large health system was rebuilding the downtown hospital campus around Gregory & Appel's office, and as construction increasingly hindered business operations, their anticipated relocation shifted from 2026 to early 2023.

Their building, “an island surrounded by a $4 billion construction project,” was caught right in the middle of it, Appel said.

With a relatively short timeframe of 14-16 months, the company faced the daunting task of finding, negotiating and relocating to a new space without disrupting operations – all at a time when attracting and retaining employees was paramount.

Appel admits that finding a space that checked all their boxes would be a massive undertaking. 

They wanted:
  • A prime location in historic Center Township, Indianapolis
  • Onsite parking
  • Accessibility for commuters from all four directions of the city
  • An adaptive reuse building with history and character
  • A vibrant space that allowed for flexibility and collaboration and reflected its culture

“What attracted us to JLL was their approach to how they work with their partner clients and how they start with deep research. It was a very thoughtful examination of our current space.”

-- Andrew Appel, CEO of Gregory & Appel

The JLL Approach: Breaking down walls for a collaborative workplace

Amid this unusually tight timeline, Gregory & Appel tapped JLL to deliver a comprehensive plan, from workplace strategy all the way through construction management, to ensure a seamless transition that was not merely a change of address but a transformation of work culture.

The first step? Gaining insight from leadership and employees to create a space that best serves them.

“Gregory & Appel's old space was very traditional and bifurcated,” said Alicia Kurtz, Senior Vice President of Client Experience and Strategy. “We had an opportunity to redefine their workplace, lower their cubicle walls, increase collaboration space, break down department silos, and to bring in natural light for all.”

At the same time, Gregory & Appel updated their hybrid work schedule, increasing their days in the office from two to three. Employees enjoyed the flexibility afforded by a hybrid schedule but acknowledged the company’s culture centered around the energy that comes from collaboration and wanted to be in a space that matched this ethos.

Once the workplace strategy determined the right mix of collaborative areas to individual seats (a ratio of 6:1), the JLL team used their extensive market knowledge and community relationships to identify an off-market real estate option and negotiate the best terms for a new lease – a complicated agreement with many inherent challenges.

“The JLL team was invaluable in helping us negotiate an early lease termination with the health system that owned our property,” Appel said. “To say that they armed David vs. Goliath is an understatement and allowed us to level the playing field to come to an outcome that worked for both parties.”

In tandem with the move, Gregory & Appel was expanding. They needed a space that would scale with them as they grew. In the two-year time frame between moves, the insurance company that began with two employees and a rented office in 1884 had doubled its growth rate.

What started as a move for 183 people became a plan for future expansion. Within three months of moving in, Gregory & Appel intend to expand their space to the rest of the floor.

“This space sets us up for future growth and absolutely is helping us attract future colleagues,” Appel said. “And then the way the JLL team structured our lease facilitates our ability to stay in this location and continue to expand.”

Bringing it to life: Transforming the office into a destination where people want to work

In the end, JLL secured a building in Indianapolis that met all of Gregory & Appel’s criteria -- and it also happened to be in their backyard. The new building –a former auto manufacturing hub built in 1916 – is just one mile from and in the same historic district as their previous office.

The new office space not only facilitated a more collaborative work environment but also boosted the team's morale, with many employees expressing their eagerness to come into the office.

“A number of people have told me, ‘I actually want to come into the office now,’” Appel said. “You can't say anything better than that about a building.”

One notable feature of the new building is its extensive natural light, creating an inviting and productive work environment.

“It’s exciting to see the space that they've transformed into today with all the color, the vibrancy, the equitable way of sharing natural light and seeing folks interact in the space in a dynamic way,” said Matt Waggoner, Senior Managing Director at JLL. “This space allows them to be the company that they've been pursuing over the last several years.”

See a brighter way: $4 million in cost savings

JLL delivered a $4 million savings package to Gregory & Appel, a significant savings on a $15 million project cost budget.

Additionally, JLL’s construction management team came in more than half a million dollars under budget. This meant a brand-new space and furniture, all at nearly zero out-of-pocket costs.

“The depth of the JLL bench helped us accomplish this project in an incredibly compressed timeframe,” Appel said. “I don't know if we would have been able to hit on that if we didn't have a partner like JLL.”

Visit our Workplace strategy page to learn more about how to transform your office to fit your business goals.