Lulu Rising

Self Publishing

March, 25, 2009, by David

Advertise on NR

Lulu’s recent move to Hillsborough street represents the beginning of the street’s rebuilding.  The dot com’s visionary CEO, Bob Young, was the co-founder of Red Hat before starting Lulu in 2002.  Lulu is an online self publishing company that enables writers to print books of high quality in low volume for reasonable prices.  The business enables publishers to use powerful editing and ecommerce tools online through a large software development team that works on site in Raleigh. 

In addition to Raleigh, Lulu has offices in Bangalore and in London, right off of Trafalgar Square.  Lulu’s old Triangle office was a strong contrast to the new location, sitting in a nondescript Morrisville office park, and while western Hillsborough Street is a far cry from Trafalgar square, the cultural upgrade cannot be overlooked.

One can only guess at the immeasurable hiring and marketing advantage Lulu immediately gains by being so proximal to NC State’s unofficial entrance. How many future graduates will be familiar with the bleeding edge company when they begin their hunt for jobs or internships?  Lulu’s office is a premier space acting as gatepost to downtown and the university, and is hopefully the first of many technology companies of such scale to move closer to Raleigh’s city center.


Night Photo Courtesy of Good Night Raleigh

The new building is just as exciting as the new location.  Its exterior, facing Hillsborough St., is largely the same as that of the Carolina Tractor Company that closed in 1996.  In 2007 the building sat as mostly a shell when Bob Young began to work at making the building into Lulu’s new office. The interior is an open rolling space with tall windows between areas and skylights lighting the offices and various conference rooms. Much of the exposed brick, steel supports and wooden ceiling are all original- substantial in their strength and striking as exposed materials. A modern work space with employees grouped by task, but with wide doorways between the areas.  Office dividers sit angled from the walls in offset patterns that are quiet and secure while still open enough for collaboration. Most importantly, a fully stocked break room sits close to the developers for their caffeinated needs. 

The executives’ offices wrap around the outside corner of the building, overlooking Cup-a-Joe and Nice Price books and grouping them, at least in observation, with some of Hillsborough Street’s most established locales. With the Hillsborough Street revitalization and the 102-foot tall, 277-apartment, mixed-use building approved in the Stanhope Plan, Lulu’s new digs will be surrounded by commercial activity and urban residences.  The beginning of change for a street that NCSU has never really embraced, one day soon folks might actually show it off. If so, it will be in no small part to Lulu.com.

The new Lulu headuqarters were designed by David B Kirk, AIA at Integrated Design








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Tagged

DevelopmentHillsborough StreetBob YoungLulu.com

Related

  • Ken Roberts
    03/25 06:53 PM

    What a cool write up.  Thanks David.

  • roi
    03/25 07:08 PM

    As usual David and the New Raleigh staff are always the first to bring us news of new ventures or their new office locations.  Excellent article and great photos.

  • Aaron
    03/25 07:46 PM

    This is very exciting news for Hillsborough Street. Like Fayetteville, I think Hillsborough should be getting the same treatment.

  • Joshua
    03/25 08:32 PM

    so glad to see the building put to use. they’ve got scaffolding around the big tractor on top of it, so i’m optimistic it will be restored too?! and bob young is indeed a visionary. thanks for bringing business to hboro st, bob!

  • RaleighRob
    03/26 09:29 AM

    Lulu deserves a civic award for what they’ve done there!  That part of Hillsborough Street has been long-neglected and this company is definitely doing their part to urban renewal with this effort.  Two giant thumbs up!  Keep up the great work.

  • Matt
    03/26 09:52 AM

    well done (both Lulu and NR)!

  • Dan London
    03/26 10:50 AM

    It is a really great office.

    There is really nothing that is overdone. Everything is pretty simple, but it works and looks great.

    No giant fountains, no $6000 chairs, no marble statues or flooring.

    Great location too.

  • hackles10
    03/26 11:37 AM

    Office looks incredible!  Hope that area cleans up a bit around Lulu now!

  • ser
    03/26 11:58 AM

    If anyone’s interested, the architect for the redesign was David Kirk at Integrated Design.  He’s got mad skills; you should see his front yard.

    http://www.id-aep.com/id.html

  • ser
    03/26 02:05 PM

    One other point in response to Joshua’s comment, according to the selfsame David Kirk (vide supra), the tractor is staying put.

  • Lisa Jeffries
    03/26 07:11 PM

    LOVE what they’ve done here… wish more developers and businesses would think this way! (I’m just amazed that the cubicles are still so bland and boring.)

    Kudos for keepin’ the tractor, too!

  • Raleigh Indian
    03/27 11:01 PM

    The office design looks nice and inviting. Thanks for posting the cool photos.

  • luke
    03/28 03:55 AM

    word up. everybody loves that building.

  • Caitlin Cary
    03/30 03:12 AM

    And congratulations to Cup A Joe—I hope this gives them a BIG boost.
    Hey, Cup A Joe, come downtown, too!

  • Jenn M
    03/31 02:45 PM

    I am glad to hear that the tractor is staying. As an NCSU student, I enjoyed watching the renovations and now as an alum, I am covetous of the view of Hillsborough street.

  • R C Shaw
    04/01 02:47 PM

    I’m glad to see you have a nice home. Now, try working on your service! I can’t believe how bad Lulu response has gotten. It’s impossible to get an answer from your people about a project. Maybe you should think about investing in some of the old systems which made Lulu fun to connect with.

    Today, I feel like you are totally disconnected from your public and I certainly wouldn’t recommend Lulu to CNET or any one else.

    Have fun in your new digs!

  • Sue Risk
    04/06 04:00 PM

    Congrats upon your new location, and on its’ interesting plan. A very nice looking business. I hope that settling will have helped refocus upon the business functions that were in place a year or so. Good luck!

  • Fabian Black
    04/28 06:12 AM

    Great looking offices. Lets hope all those empty desks get filled up with staff who can actually provide some real customer support. Lulu seems to place no value whatsover on customer relations, it’s a shame, because Lulu is a fabulous concept and on the whole I love it, but it’s tainted by executive ignorance. The powers that run Lulu need a boot up the proverbial.

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