How Lifestyle Landlord Boxer's Stealing Your Tenants
Landlords like Boxer are moving from just providing a nice box to creating a lifestyle (think haircut, clean clothes, and a place to bring your date...all in your office). And tenants are loving it. That’s one reason we’re excited to host Bisnow’s Workplace of the Future event—on Dec. 16, we’ll delve into the new office trends. Register here.
Our panelist president Justin Segal (here showing his superpower, looking into the future of office demand) says Boxer is starting to branch out with partners on the service side to support companies beyond their physical space. Food services is a big component—Boxer is moving away from delis into coffee shops, food trucks and unique restaurants. (It opened Springbok this summer connected to 723 Main Street.) Justin’s also looking at putting in barber shops and dry cleaners in his properties.
Boxer launched its Boxer Workstyle program last year to serve co-working needs (individuals and small companies), and Justin says 2014 was dedicated to experimenting with the platform, with lots of testing, analytics and metrics to see what resonates the most with tenants. There isn’t one answer, though—Justin says the ideal workplace varies by users’ industry and neighborhood. Boxer’s Downtown offices will use more glass frosting because it’ll attract attorneys, while its property in the Heights will host graphic designers who want more lighting control and the ability to see each other’s screens. Meanwhile, 1322 Space Park in Clear Lake has more land for outdoor amenities.
Besides implementing Workstyle throughout its portfolio, Boxer is renovating older assets with new cutting-edge amenities. 1322 Space Park is a '60s era building that started with almost no windows and is now a hip, airy property with huge glass roll-up doors. Boxer added a dog park, barbecue area and food truck court (and has gotten requests to put in a pitch-and-putt golf area and bocce ball courts). Leasing jumped as soon as the first redesigned area was complete, and now Boxer is racing to finish converting the remaining old space to keep up with demand. Next, it’s repurposing 7676 Hillmont, turning the atrium space into a sort of indoor patio area, installing gigabyte Internet, and adding a 40-foot projection screen with high-end video.
CBRE senior project manager Erin Schultz (another panelist) tells us all the changes in office design are trickling down from a massive change in how employers behave and think of their employees. Gone are the days of the strict authoritarian boss—today’s execs have learned that being flexible with employees ups productivity. (There’s no need to freak out if they’re five minutes late when they spent half an hour responding to emails before they even got out of bed.)
That flexibility plays out in the uses going into offices these days, Erin says. One of her bank clients has put in gaming stations and nap rooms with the idea that a mid-day nap may knock them out of commission from 12:30 to 1, but may keep them in the office from 5 to 6. To encourage that even more, that client is offering food incentives to employees, including providing dinner and allowing family members to attend. The end result: Employees are happier, and more willing to dedicate long hours to the job. Pictured is the office of Macquarie, which Erin helped design.
Sometimes you can get a big impact from just shuffling things around on your blueprint. Erin tells us one of the biggest workplace shifts in the last year has been execs finally getting more comfortable with moving away from the windows (and the traditional ring of private offices around the perimeter) and leaving the views for their employees. That opens up the floor to more light and some beautiful collaborative spaces, including another layout shift—pulling the break room out from a dreary corner to make it the focal point of the office. (Sort of like your kitchen at home, office break rooms are becoming the center of office life.) Don’t miss our Future of the Workplace event—register here and join us at the Houstonian at 8am on the 16th!