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Real Estate Bisnow
The largest commercial real estate publication in the United States.
December 12, 2011 

We don’t have flying cars or a ruling class of apes yet, but architects and developers want to devise ways to make smarter buildings with sensible spaces, flexibility, and built-in technology, says Gensler regional design director David Epstein at Bisnow’s Office of the Future event last week at the Westin Park Central.
crowd of 350
About 350 of you joined us to hear David, who said the office of the future has been done before; ancient Egyptians had scribes working in a centralized location (scribes love open floor plans) and even Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Larkin Building in Buffalo with a YMCA next door for health and wellness for employees. The office of the present is still scribing, he said, as we’re together making something; it’s about the process. It’s about accomplishing what a company wants to do while addressing how to do that more efficiently.
David Epstein
Connectivity of people—having that moment to scribe together and exchange ideas—is one of many influences designers like David think about daily. In 1900, only 10% of the world’s population lived in cities. (The rest spent their time wearing full suits and ankle length dresses at the beach.) Today, he says, about half of the world’s 7 billion people live in cities and by 2050, some 7.5 billion will live in a city, so urbanization and densification (that's how you turn a noun into a verb). Mobility, globalization, technology, and generation shifts also play roles. Today’s younger workforce has expectations of what an office should be. They’ve grown up with the Internet and they have a global idea about where they live and what they’re doing.
Edward Okpa and Adam Saphier
Panelist Trammell Crow Co managing director Adam Saphier (right) with The Okpa Co principal Edward Okpa. Adam says some of the active deals now have some hair on them. To get a deal moving, you need one or more of the following: the best site like Encana found at Legacy, strong capital if the client wants to be tenant instead of an owner, aggressive rental rates, and creativity for all the complications.
John Brownlee
KDC SVP/partner John Brownlee says tenants are looking for spaces that will create a competitive environment to attract and retain the best talent. With Encana, the company consolidated locations and wanted a place with walkable amenities. At Denbury, employees are provided free meals beyond the turkey sandwiches, he says, with prime rib on the menu.
Harold McDowell and David Cunningham
We snapped Granite Properties development and construction director David Cunningham (right) pre-panel with TDIndustries’ top guy Harold McDowell. David says Granite is service oriented, with many smaller tenants, and works toward efficiency of the building and lowering energy costs. When developing buildings, they look for sites with an amenity base—walkable is better—with drive-up appeal. It’s like buying a home, he says. People want it to be easy to get in and out of, too. People spend more time at office than home, he says, and Granite is taking steps to create a hotel in Granite Park right now.
Chris Jackson
Stream Realty Partners DFW managing partner Chris Jackson moderated the developer panel. He tells us Stream is celebrating its 15th anniversary and has grown the office and industrial portfolios to more than 70M SF. What’s the gift for 15 years of CRE? Brick and mortar, maybe?
We caught up with event sponsor IREM’s Susan Heath, Christie Clenney, and Jean Ross. The ladies tell us they’re working to promote the organization and encourage owners to hire professional property managers because it takes experience to earn the CPM recognition.
Sean Covington, Tara Page, Alli Vaughan, Shannon Meek, and James Magee
Event sponsors Teknion and OM Workspace (a national furniture dealership affiliated with the OfficeMax Corp) collaborate in a vendor/partner way, which is perfect since the office of the future will be all about collaboration, says Teknion’s Tara Page. Teknion wrote the book on office furnishings, literally. It’s aptly titled Co-Create and they’ll give you a copy of the book, all ya gotta do is ask. Here’s OM Workspace’s Sean Corrington, Tara, Teknion’s Alli Vaughan, and OM Workspaces’ Shannon Meek and James Magee.
Day 2 Office of the Future event coverage is coming up on Wednesday. Warm up the hot chocolate and get ready. Email news to tonie@bisnow.com.
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