The Future of Cool Offices
GlenStar Properties principal Michael Klein (above, with his family) has seen the future of cool cribs after a trip to San Francisco with colleague Rand Diamond. They toured Twitter's HQ and other urban-feeling, collaborative loft spaces with hotel-like amenities. (One game room even had a keg, which is not very hotel-like... but we hope they'll consider it.) GlenStar has already started applying creative principles in its portfolio, like building out open-plan spec suites that appeal to both techies and more traditional firms. At Chicago's 55 E Monroe, they're working on a conference center, as well as a bike room and showers.
At the Chicago Board of Trade building (newly designated BOMA 360, its vault above), a 10k SF fitness center will open at the end of the month and a rooftop deck is in the pipeline, Michael tells us. Creative office has even found its way to the suburbs, where tenants are now asking about “cool space” for employees to communicate and share ideas. But it's not always simple, Michael says. For example, pets in the office are a hot topic in San Francisco, where dog beds are a surprisingly common piece of office furniture. But before you bring Fido to work, owners have to take into consideration if the building is actually pet friendly, how many pets should be allowed, and how to deal with potential allergies. (We say put the shedders in the vault.)
Unlike your favorite college sweatshirt, one size does not fit all, JLL managing director Jim Plummer tells us. He's noticed huge interest in these new collaborative office spaces meant to appeal to Millennials. (The creative office evolutionary chain: offices to smaller workspaces to benching to flexible mobile environments and desk sharing.) But as the trend spreads from tech to more traditional companies, note that there are many ways to streamline an office and maximize efficiency. “Offices may have exposed ceilings, concrete floors, and neat lighting, but they still need custom solutions to meet the user's requirements,” Jim says.