Next Cycle's Offices Will Be Totally Different
Office development has slowed (although other segments are still full steam ahead), which means developers and architects have time to analyze what the next wave of product will be like. That's why we're excited to delve into current and future development trends at our Bisnow’s New Construction and Development event on Aug. 12 starting at 7am at the Royal Sonesta Houston.
Ziegler Cooper senior principal Kurt Hull (our panelist is pictured with his daughter McKenzie and wife Terri in Spain) tells us Houston’s been designing for large energy users for the last few years, with a particular focus on campuses. That’s usually meant nine- or 10-foot ceilings and large 25k SF footprints. But he believes the next cycle will borrow design strategies from office lofts to attract Millennials. You can’t usually build those properties new (the quintessential creative office is a redeveloped warehouse with exposed brick), but Kurt thinks new office properties will start including significantly taller ceilings, much shallower bay depths, different types of windows and exposed structures. They may not even be rectangular, he says—maybe we’ll start wrapping office around garages like multifamily does.
And forget suburban campuses; Kurt believes urban mixed-use will be the mainstay of the next wave of office development. Kurt’s designing a couple of buildings now and says he’s starting to see these atypical concepts in practice; they’re tenant-driven but will quickly spread to spec product. Look to Midway for an example of what Kurt envisions—besides leading the mixed-use charge, its Kirby Grove office building (rendered here) incorporates some of the loft design elements that Kurt believes will become the norm. Wulfe & Co's BLVD Place also has creative office elements like shallow bay depths and walkability to restaurants, retail and residential.
Looking even farther forward, Kurt says developers need to start including adaptable uses for their garages. People are moving away from cars as much as possible, and although it may not be in the next cycle or two, he thinks we’re going to find ourselves with a lot of excess square feet of parking that we’ll need to redevelop. Some tips to prepare: keep ramps flat instead of slanted and do higher floor to floor space.
Office aside, Arch-Con CEO Michael Scheurich, another speaker at our event, isn’t seeing a slowdown in construction yet. Hospitality is the most active segment now, he tells us, with properties in all stages of planning and development. Many are prepping for the Super Bowl, especially the 10 or 11 projects underway Downtown. But a lot aren’t geared towards that—the Med Center, Galleria, Energy Corridor and The Woodlands are all popping with construction. Arch-Con alone has nearly 1,500 keys in 10 properties in various stages of development across the metro, including the 205-key Embassy Suites (pictured below) it’s building in The Woodlands’ Hughes Landing.
Retail’s about to start booming, too, Michael tells us—there’s been pent-up demand and the fundamentals are good, and he says there will be a lot of junior box and larger power centers under construction in 2016. Arch-Con’s building Valley Ranch Phase 1 for Signorelli, a 25-acre, 165k SF project that’ll break ground by the end of the year. Industrial’s also busy; Arch-Con’s got a bunch of distribution and light manufacturing facilities ranging from 100k to 700k SF on its drawing board. For example, it’s handling a 200k SF build-to-suit distribution facility at Ritchie and East Hardy, which’ll break ground around the end of September. Join us for Bisnow’s New Construction and Development event on Aug. 12 starting at 7am at the Royal Sonesta Houston. Sign up here.