Even when not in Rome, you can still do like the Romans do. That seems to be the approach taken by healthcare staffing firm Jackson Healthcare in formulating its corporate campus in Alpharetta, Ga., where the architecture and landscaping is designed to evoke the look and feel of a classic Italian cityscape.
The complex earlier this year added two new structures to the campus: One is a 267,000-square-foot office tower called Florence, and the other a three-story, 39,000-square-foot amenities center called Coliseum that is designed to evoke the famous ancient Colosseum in Rome
Inside the Coliseum is a state-of-the-art fitness and wellness center open seven days a week that includes an indoor pool, two levels of cardio and strength equipment, classrooms for in-person and virtual fitness classes, a spray-tanning studio, and massage and chiropractic services. A hair salon with blow-dry bar and nail services are in the works.
The Jackson Healthcare campus is modeled on a classic Italian cityscape. The new Coliseum amenities building is in the middle. (Credit: Haigwood Studios Photography)
Complementing all these health and wellness services are two dining outlets. One is a multi-station cafe called Ciao Vita and the other a sit-down restaurant called Anna & Renata’s that opens off Ciao Vita.
The campus also has a third dining outlet called Ciao Bella in another building that currently offers more of a traditional corporate dining selection, but which is slated for a menu renovation later this year. The dining and catering operations on the campus are managed by the LifeWorks division of Aramark.
The Coliseum building was specifically designed to be a distinct venue equally accessible to all of the more than 1,100 employees currently working at Jackson Healthcare’s fast-growing corporate campus, says Leslie Day Harrell, senior vice president of corporate real estate.
“We purposefully did not put these amenities inside our new [office] building because we wanted people to have kind of a symbiotic relationship between the existing and the new, expanded buildings,” she says. “It’s a shared amenity, so it creates a nice opportunity for a central collision point for people.”
Aside from encouraging community-building “collisions” among associates from the different buildings, the amenities center fosters physical and mental wellness, Harrell adds.
“Wellness is a huge part of our culture,” she explains, “so we wanted to create an environment where people can have every service they need here on campus for a good work/life balance, and food and nutrition is a huge part of it. We spent a lot of time to make sure we got that component right.”
Anna & Renata’s is a private dining area inside Ciao Vita that offers a five-star restaurant dining experience at a fraction of the price for Jackson Healthcare associates. (Credit: Jackson Healthcare)
Ciao Vita offers a variety of dining choices from four main food stations. They are:
- a tossed salad/sandwich station with over three dozen fresh salad ingredient choices ranging from grains and proteins to vegetables, fruits and cheeses custom-assembled for each customer, plus a carving station with a different meat rotating through each day;
- a Mediterranean station with brick-oven pizza, flatbreads and freshly made pasta, all custom-made to order with customer choice of ingredients and toppings;
- a grill offering not just traditional fare like burgers, grilled chicken/fish and french fries, but also steak, quesadillas and cheesesteak sandwiches as well; and
- an action station with a daily chef’s choice entrée made in front of customers—a recent week’s lineup included potato crusted salmon, eggplant Napoleon, oven-fired traditional Italian spiedini, mushroom miso ramen bowls and chicken or steak crunchy taco salad bowls.
Ciao Vita currently has indoor seating for 200, ranging from banquettes, soft benches, high-tops and farm tables to plush booths and a semi-private banquette area where associates can hold lunch meetings. In addition, there is outdoor seating that wraps around the front of the building, offering a view of the complex’s 120-foot piazza and its fountains, as well as the façade of 1,400-space, six-story parking deck designed to resemble the buildings that line the Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy—“You would never know there was a parking deck behind it!” Harrell quips.
Located inside Ciao Vita but separated from it by a glass front and tall glass ironwork doors is Anna & Renata’s, a private dining area open to all Jackson Healthcare associates, usually by reservation though walk-ins can be accommodated if a table is available. It offers table service and a high-end menu with selections like steak and seafood, plus a very popular lobster bisque that is served daily, usually to depletion.
“It’s like walking into a five-star restaurant, complete with hostess station at the door and a speakeasy atmosphere with blue plush velvet chairs and banquette seating,” is the way Harrell describes Anna & Renata’s. “We’ve had incredible participation since we opened as people love having business meetings in there. You get a terrific environment while never having to leave campus, and the price points are unbelievable. I recently got a sea bass dish with sides for $13 there, something that cost me $34 in a Buckhead restaurant [in Atlanta] a couple weeks earlier.”
Value is also a priority in Ciao Vita and Ciao Bella, both of which offer Jackson Healthcare employees a 25% discount on meal purchases and give them payment options of traditional debit/credit cards or payroll deduction.
When designing the new dining outlets, special attention was paid to sustainability issues. Not only do the dining venues try to source ingredients locally as much as practical but also all the equipment is as green-friendly as possible, so much so that the complex was recognized by local utility Georgia Power in their green energy rebate program. In addition, disposables have been modified to use more environmentally friendly alternatives like paper cups instead of Styrofoam and bamboo to-go boxes instead of plastic.
Ciao Vita opens 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays for breakfast and 11:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch. Its coffee/smoothie station is open continuously from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features Lavazza branded coffee products while the coffee station in Ciao Bella has Starbucks as an alternative.
One sign of the success of the onsite dining options is the high participation rate among employees, despite the Jackson Healthcare campus being in easy proximity to literally hundreds of off-campus dining alternatives, Harrell notes.
“Breaking bread with your fellow associates is part of a life of vitality,” she explains, “so we created this atmosphere where people can come together, commune with each other and have good, healthy food.”