Amidst record low unemployment in the U.S., office developers are turning to multi-use and amenity-rich office environments to help employers attract coveted employees. These types of office communities ― with top notch tenant space, ground floor retail, restaurants, and high-end residential spaces ― are designed to create an experience so inviting that it transforms the connotation of “work.”
This trend is driving activity in various markets and is particularly noteworthy in suburban areas where single-use, low amenity office developments have been a mainstay. Some consider the single-use office development as a relic of the past, as multi-use developments help with recruitment, have retail that can raise rental rates, and contribute more to the local economy.
In some suburban areas, municipalities are getting in on the trend as a way to promote revitalizing older corporate campuses. Locations that can provide access to transit and have a strong walkability rating are considered more conducive for redevelopment as multi-use properties.
One significant force in all of this transformation is the Millennial generation, which has been prompting change across the office spectrum, particularly in urban areas. From Chicago to New York to San Francisco, employers are realizing the need to invest in spaces that will keep this valuable, young talent pool happy. In many cases, this means office space with the right mix of collaborative space, flexible team meeting spaces, casual break rooms, workout space, bike storage areas, community Wi-Fi, restaurants and other amenities.
This movement toward multi-use office development is the next stage in this transformation, as commercial real estate professionals look to extend the focus beyond the typical spaces where tenants interact. This means that the amenities don’t stop with upgraded lobbies and first floor retail ― they should extend into the streetscapes, the walking trails, and outdoor entertainment areas. In short, the communal work experience encompasses the entire office campus.
Although the targeted demographic for these transformed spaces may be the Millennials, the reality is that the benefits derived from these types of developments are not lost on Baby Boomers or Gen Xers. A happy and productive workforce is a profitable workforce, regardless of their demographic. 2018 is proving to be a year where businesses are investing in creative office space and culture that might otherwise be void in the office environment of the past.