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REVEALED: OFFICE OF THE FUTURE

REVEALED: OFFICE OF THE FUTURE

Our two expert panels at Bisnow's Chicago Tech Summit/Office of the Future couldn't predict next year's Super Bowl winner, but they did give 350 attendees at the Westin River North a glimpse into what Chicago office employees want: collaborative, open space. Tech startups might have led the charge, but the trend is no longer confined to their industry.

 
REVEALED: OFFICE OF THE FUTURE

Both panels were moderated by Green Point Partners CEO Dustin Gellman (who's got a future in this moderating thing), guiding the discussion through the future of sustainable space and Chicago’s place as a tech hub. The tech action isn’t just on the coasts any more, partly because there’s more suitable space for tech in Chicago than there used to be.

 
Reznick (Retail) MCHI
REVEALED: OFFICE OF THE FUTURE
Perkins + Will Principal Gina Berndt says open co-working sites are representative of new office space, designed to foster collaboration. (If only the Beatles had better-designed office space, perhaps they never would've broken up.) Her firm recently designed Hillshire Brands’ (formerly Sara Lee) new space in the redeveloped 400 W Jefferson on the West Side, and she says that Hillshire Brands believes an innovative work environment will help attract and retain a talented workforce. She added, however, that there will continue to be a market for more traditional, Class-A office layouts.
REVEALED: OFFICE OF THE FUTURE
Beams of light in office space is in high demand, says Modular Architectural president Mark Bassil, including an “explosive demand” for glass walls. (Glass hasn't been this hot since the cathedral boom of the 11th century.) The thinking now is that adding openness to an office setting will improve productivity. Mark says that for office space users, sustainability will be even more important in the future. “The key thing now is to contain the costs associated with it,” he says, without impacting the green goals that will help attract and keep young employees.
REVEALED: OFFICE OF THE FUTURE

Authenticity” in work space is a concept that comes up often, meaning a space is true to its use and true to its location. Centrum Properties SVP Michael McLean says his company recently completed its own authentic space in the form of the Bradley Business Center on the North Side. The concept applies not only for offices, but almost any kind of space. During the building boom of the 2000s, developers created the same kinds of space “over and over,” Michael notes. That resulted in some fine Class-A office space, but such an approach wouldn’t work any more. Authenticity in space might allow for similar elements—such as open work areas—but it doesn’t allow for sameness.

REVEALED: OFFICE OF THE FUTURE
Tech firms aren’t necessarily spending less on their office space buildouts, just spending in different ways than more conventional companies, says Skender Construction EVP Justin Brown. Authentic space, fosters the kind of creativity that the companies need to thrive. Justin cites the brand-new 1871—a 59k SF of workspace in the Merchandise Mart for digital startups that Skender recently completed. It has minimal phones and cables, because most people there communicate wirelessly, and cool amenities such as a coffee bar and common areas for social gathering. “It’s a place that people want to come back to,” Justin says.
WASHINGTON DC 07.12.2017

THE FUTURE OF SOUTHEAST DC

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