Amazon’s subsidiary turned a historic church into an ‘Innovation Cathedral’ work space but preserved its stained glass, pipe organ, and bowling alley

Audible took over a church to expand its Newark, New Jersey office space.

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Audible took over a church to expand its Newark, New Jersey office space.
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Audible

Amazon-owned audiobook and radio company Audible opened a new office in a historic Presbyterian church its hometown of Newark, New Jersey, in May.

Audible is headquartered in Newark, New Jersey, where it moved in 2007. It has since become the city’s fastest-growing private employer, and its new “Innovation Cathedral” is located about a block away from the headquarters. In the renovation, it preserved historic elements while updating other features, and making additions for workspaces.

The new workspace, designed by Spectorgroup is part of Audible’s commitment to Newark, according to founder and CEO Don Katz.

The cathedral is “proof that our efforts are yielding positive outcomes for business and invention culture, for the many talented people who want to work with us, and for the comeback of this great American city.”

Audible also gives a $500 monthly stipend to employees living within Newark city limits, provides Amazon Fire tablets to Newark high school students, and offers those students paid internships. These policies are part of what Katz calls the “responsibility all corporations must take seriously” to invest in their communities.

Scroll to see how a pre-war church can be repurposed for a 2019 tech company.


Built in 1933, the building was once home to Newark’s Second Presbyterian Church, which had as many as 10,000 members at its height in the middle of the 20th century.

Audible took over a church to expand its Newark, New Jersey office space.

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Amazon Newark Innovation Cathedral.
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Audible

The church shut down in 1995 due to declining numbers, and then a community group used the space as a charter school and daycare until 2013.

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Amazon Newark Innovation Cathedral.
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Audible

Audible has put the 80,000-square-foot building to use as office space for 400 employees while preserving many of the historic elements…

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Amazon Newark Innovation Cathedral.
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Audible

…including ornate organ pipes…

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Amazon Newark Innovation Cathedral.
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Audible

…and giant stained glass windows.

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Amazon Newark Innovation Cathedral.
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Audible

The company even restored the old bowling alley that was once part of a community center connected to the church.

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Amazon Newark Innovation Cathedral.
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Audible

The bowling alley was fully refurbished and is now a place for employees to unwind.

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Amazon Newark Innovation Cathedral.
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Audible

Audible also added an auditorium for meetings.

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Amazon Newark Innovation Cathedral.
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Audible

Work cafes and lounges are available for employees to take a break.

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Amazon Newark Innovation Cathedral.
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Audible

Audible employees have the unique opportunity to work while surrounded by beautiful craftsmanship from nearly 100 years ago.

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Amazon Newark Innovation Cathedral.
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Audible

Some recognizable church elements remain and have a new life in the office, like pews.

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Amazon Newark Innovation Cathedral.
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Audible

Other areas have been totally transformed and added on to make the 20th-century church a comfortable 21st-century workspace.

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Amazon Newark Innovation Cathedral.
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Audible

See a video tour of the Innovation Cathedral here.