We too can play at that game! That sentiment is being echoed by landlord’s and is resulting in upping the ante game within Class A towers and Class B midrises. Landlords across the spectrum are looking at where they can add amenities in what has traditionally been poor-performing or unleaseable space.
Companies in every industry, from autos to retail, have been scrambling to adjust to millennials’ tastes and expectations, and commercial real estate is no exception…big landlords are spending millions to inject Silicon Valley playfulness into aging towers in big cities. They’re in an arms race against new construction and co-working businesses such as WeWork Cos. “The way towers were built in the 1980s, they were a monument to the corporation,” says Lisa Picard, chief executive officer and president of Equity Office, a Blackstone unit that owns office buildings. “Now, if it feels corporate, that’s the kiss of death.”
Credit: Boston Business Journal
What does the shorter Winthrop Square tower now look like?
According to the Boston Business Journal, the refined Winthrop Square tower will include the following:
- 500 residential units;
- 750,000 square feet of office space;
- 21,000 square feet of publicly accessible meeting space;
- 21,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space;
- 115,000 square feet of affordable housing that could be built in Chinatown in collaboration with the
- Asian Community Development Corp.;
- Two exterior green roof spaces; and
- Capacity for 550 vehicles in five levels of underground parking.
The update follows an ongoing discussion around the impact of the shadows cast onto the Boston Common given the tower’s height, orientation, and location.
Class A landlords are continuing to update and upgrade their assets to address the evolving needs of today’s tenant. The 402-foot, 41-story Class A tower at One Post Office Square was built in 1981 and is 832,000 rentable square feet with a typical floor plate of 18,221 square feet.
Credit: Banker and Tradesman
A recent Banker and Tradesman article speaks to the proposed transformation, noting the office “tower in Boston’s Financial District will get a new glass facade, a roof deck and terraces and an illuminated rooftop glass “lantern”…On the lower levels, a three-story glass pavilion will add 52,100 square feet of retail space and an 8,800-square-foot restaurant…An 18-story addition replacing the existing garage on Oliver Street would [also] contain automated parking and additional office space.”
Click on the link for additional information on the One Post Office Square renovation on B&T’s website.
Ferry service in Boston Harbor is looking to add new destinations.
According to Banker and Tradesman, “at public meetings during the summer, many attendees requested more inner harbor service…[while] outside of Boston, the report recommended expanding commuter ferry service from Hingham, Hull, Lynn, Quincy, Salem and Winthrop and starting a new service from Dorchester’s Columbia Point.”
The goal is to begin expanded service in 2019.
For additional information, continue on to Bander and Tradesman’s website to read its complete coverage.
Credit: Boston Globe
The Seaport is poised to get a library, but let’s wait to see if it materializes in Boston’s booming commercial real estate sector.
From the Boston Globe:
[State Representative Nick] Collins, a Democrat who represents South Boston, is among those who have complained that the burgeoning district is being built without enough of the places — like a library — that make a neighborhood feel like home. As WS Development finalized plans to put housing, office buildings, and retail on 12.5 acres of parking lots, Collins pressed the developer to add a library to the project, known as Seaport Square.
But when the Boston Planning & Development Agency approved the developer’s plan Nov. 16, it required two performing arts centers, but no library. That same week, however, Collins inserted a provision into a large state bond bill that would set aside $10 million for “creation and construction of a Boston Public Library branch on the South Boston Waterfront.”
Credit: Purdue University
Simply put – employees want to be comfortable. Many new cars have dual temperature control for both front-seat passengers, and separate controls for the rear. Office employees simply want the same ability to customize their climate and control their environment – from their personal devices.
New research conducted by Purdue University’s Center for High Performance Buildings shows that people who were able to easily control temperature and lighting from their computer were more actively engaged during the day than those who had to get up and use a traditional wall-mounted control…The former also showed higher levels of productivity and had better cognitive test results than the group that did not have direct control over their surroundings.
“By giving people the choice to use more daylight and feel more connected to the outdoor environment, you can optimize productivity and use less energy,” CHPB researcher and associate professor Panagiota Karava said in a statement.
Why are office building measurements getting redefined? In short, buildings are creating more common areas and outdoor amenities to accommodate today’s tenancy. The changes put forth this past October by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International are designed to account for the way young talent is seeking out and utilizing outdoor space – like rooftop terraces, balconies, etc.
From Seeking Alpha:
“The 2017 standard really reflects the changes that are happening in the marketplace,” BOMA International Chair Rob Brierley told VTS. He’s also an executive vice president at Colliers Boston. “There has been such an increasing demand for well-appointed exterior amenities like balconies, covered galleries and finished rooftop terraces. If the tenant is taking advantage of it, the rationality is they should also now include it as part of the rentable square footage… It’s a more clear and accurate representation of how tenants are actually using space.”
“Over the last decade, the amenity packages that folks are asking for is changing so quickly,” Brierley added. “Today if you don’t have a roof deck or patio, you’re definitely at a disadvantage in many ways…. The reality is if you go out to any building that has a patio or roof deck, everybody’s using it. It’s not just the millennials. It really has been an extension of their respective offices, which is one of the reasons this change has occurred.”
Credit: Crain’s New York
When listing amenities for buildings, beyond bike rooms and common area Wi-Fi, is a new addition: nap rooms. Soon to occupy space in Class A office towers around Boston, the new commercial real estate staple is quickly becoming adopted to cater to our changing workforce. By 2020, millennials will make up 40-50% of the working population.
Due in part to the increasing focus placed on the impact of work on occupants’ physical and mental well-being, a new scoring system has been devised to quantify office buildings’ use of wellness amenities.
From Crains New York:
Similar to LEED certification, which measures a building’s environmental sustainability, Fitwel’s system tracks various factors, from signs encouraging workers to take the stairs and wash their hands to more particular features such as lactation rooms and air purification systems. The availability of natural light is also considered a plus because it helps tenants keep their circadian rhythms in sync.
“Of millennials, 78% rate the quality of the workplace as one of the most important benefits of working at a particular company,” [Joanna Frank, president and CEO of the Center for Active Design] said. “They want to be working where there’s an overt emphasis on quality of life. Companies are realizing they need to offer it to attract and retain talent.”
Access to high quality internet is key; without that, today’s office doesn’t work.
“Tenants want an assurance that their building’s infrastructure will meet their connectivity needs in the immediate, but also in the future, regardless of whatever technological leaps are in store for their business down the road,” says Arie Barendrecht, WiredScore’s founder and CEO.
After location, the second most important factor in a tenant’s current space, according to a study by Radius Global Market Research and WiredScore, is the quality of internet connectivity. When it comes to evaluating future space needs, connectivity takes pride of place, with price and location ranked second and third in priority.
Soon your office building could follow the same path as the new iPhone X: facial recognition.
Excerpts from Biznow:
Operating systems such as Nantum are one step closer to achieving the true AI experience, which is intuitive and self-improving, by using machine learning to act as the “brain” of a building. With the brain in place, Nantum can create memories of the building’s performance in order to develop algorithms that will ultimately serve to keep iterating and improving on the systems of the building, including its energy and efficiency.
A shift toward advanced technologies is beginning to take shape with facial recognition software emerging in some buildings as a way to allow employees to safely enter the office without the use of a security card.
“When people talk about IoT, sensor technology is probably having the biggest impact on buildings and space,” Pope said.
You can read more on IoT and smart office technology on Biznow.