What Millennials Want In An Office
Also this morning, experts talked about the impact tech companies and Millennials are having on Atlanta's office market. Pardot's Cliff Seal (who confesses spending his time “nerding out to music”), Uber's Keith Radford (who is all about Spotify), Arris's Tom Williams (who used to room with Bisnow's own Jarred Schenke at UGA), and Atlanta Tech Village's David Lightburn joined 200 guests in CBRE Global Investor's 271 17th St.
Cliff exemplifies the Millennial worker that office landlords are catering to. And we got a glimpse into how he works. “Each morning, I decide if I am going into the office or not,” he says. (We have a hard enough time choosing a breakfast cereal.) Pardot is located in One Atlanta Plaza in Buckhead. “If I have a meeting, do I see a benefit being there in person on that meeting? If I can handle it just as well on the phone or on the computer, then I will.” He rarely uses a car (commuting to work by MARTA and skateboard).
But when asked about how his attitude could change about city living once he has kids, Cliff (who was part of a panel that included CBRE Global Investors' John Gilb, Wakefield Beasley & Associates' Lamar Wakefield, CBRE's Jeff Keppen and North American Properties' John Kelley) says the dynamic of people moving back in town will improve the City of Atlanta's education system over time. “Sometimes it feels like contributing to a problem to think that education is a problem in the city and so I'll move out of it,” he says. “It's one of the few elements that has split the city apart and has caused sprawl.”
John Gilb says as office landlords, CBRE Global Investors is attempting to address the issue of a Millennial-driven workforce. He and others say many companies want “funky” spaces—open floorplans, collaborative environments, exposed ceilings, etc. And that's tough for many office owners. “We're not moving fast enough, and I think it's at our peril.” (Millennials like things quickly. Look at Hot Pockets and Adult Swim.) CBRE's Jeff Keppen says CBRE Global Investors has been marketing creative spec suites at 201 17th St as a quasi-incubator. What's been done has been leased up. “We're getting ready to start our next floor any day now,” he says.
Lamar is seeing the desire for cool space among clients. One 100k SF medical software client's new space will not only include the usual uber-features like wood floors and no ceiling, but also is subsidizing breakfasts and lunches for its employees, providing massage therapists and even allowing employees to bring dogs to work once a month. But that comes at a cost to tenants. “Funky” space could be anywhere from 20% to 40% the rental premium of traditional office space. (Funkytown better have funky banks that offer funky credit.)