Talent Dictating The Future Of Office Spaces
How much will technology continue to influence advancements in office space? What were the lessons learned by designers and end users in the first wave of offices delivered? Does the actual space even matter?
These were some of the questions posed to the panelists of Bisnow's 4th Annual Chicago Creative Office event yesterday at the newly dubbed FiveOneFive, 515 N State. Over 500 people were in attendance.
Crayton Advisors managing partner John Abell says that in a market dominated by timber lofts, he's in awe of what owners of concrete buildings like FiveOneFive and 2 Prudential Plaza have done repositioning their assets to attract and retain talent. John says Crayton will be a major player in Greektown, where it bought three buildings at Jackson Boulevard and Green Street. Crayton’s approach to these smaller buildings involve amenitizing them with shared technology, creating micro-communities for workers. John believes Greektown is as ideally positioned to attract younger tech companies and talent as Fulton Market or River West, and may have more advantages with access to public transit and the expressway.
Marc Realty principal Jerry Nudo likes to call himself the old school developer on the block and hasn't been active in building creative offices. Instead, Marc Realty has been selling assets to developers better suited to create modern office spaces. An example: Marc Realty sold Crayton its Greektown buildings. Jerry says his firm is also looking for prime opportunities to partner on developments and is JV’ing with R2 Cos on an office project.
In his opening remarks, WiredScore CEO Arie Barendrecht re-emphasized the need for building owners to improve their tech games to court and retain today’s tenants, who look at a building’s tech certifications as much as floor plans when it comes to signing leases. Our host building, FiveOneFive, is in good shape there as a Wired Certified Gold building. A couple of interesting facts: Workers are consuming more data daily. Arie says over 3.5 trillion photos have been snapped since the invention of photography; 10% were created in the past year.
Here's our design and construction panel: ESD president Kurt Karnatz; Unispace director Enza Parella; Sonoma Construction president Jon Runquist II; moderator, JC Construction president Michael Yazbec; Nelson principal Gary Miciunas; Tishman & Speyer senior director Amy Preston; and Bear Construction EVP Scott Kurinsky. Enza says today’s offices aren’t real estate plays—they’re about the people. Her clients try to avoid trends as collaborative spaces have been somewhat misused. Tenants are very educated about what they want: a space they can use correctly. That means a balance between open floor plans and private huddle spaces for workers to get away and refocus on their work. Enza adds the work from home trend is fading and workers are returning to the office, and says mutual mentoring between senior and junior talent will help evolve the next phase of office environments, as it gives everyone a say in how an office is designed.
Our end user panel of Avant director Brian Addison, Solstice Mobile managing director Marisa Mann, Dose CEO Emerson Spartz, ContectMedia chief of staff Iman Jalali and Cushman & Wakefield executive director Ari Klein shared the lessons they learned from their office build-outs. All of them agreed with Enza that balancing open floor space with privacy is now a focus. Marisa says Solstice has libraries in its offices for workers to have down time. Iman says that departments such as finance, legal and HR need to have that huddle space away from the rest of their talent. Emerson says a company’s office is a reflection of its overall work environment and is key to attracting and keeping talent. He adds Dose’s offices are like Disneyland and a recent photo of a break room with a Millennium Falcon-shaped bed went viral.