Why You Really Do Want Creative Office
It's not just tech tenants in Silicon Valley who are demanding the creative office space now—here in Orange County all types of tenants want in, we learned last week at our Office of the Future event, where 250 joined us at the gen2 Building in one very hip raw space. (We are a hop, skip, and a Google-seminar away from having offices inside bounce castles.)
But what is creative office space? Our panelists grappled with the question, and while there’s no single answer, part of it is meeting tenant expectations for open floor plans and amenities such as game rooms. Another part is owners and developers taking the initiative to offer features tenants might not realize they want—until they experience them. For example, outdoor space that integrates with indoor space.
Bixby Land Co SVP-operations Aaron Hill and CapRock Partners Jonathan Pharris. From an owner-developer standpoint, the panel explained, creative office has two elements that run through each project: the details of the physical buildout, plus the collaborative nature of the space. But each user is unique, with unique requirements, so it’s hard to describe creative space to the last detail. A lot of emphasis is being given to the internal buildout, but in a place like Southern California, tenants want exterior space as well.
Emmes Realty Services of California asset manager Jordan Johnson and Prudential Real Estate Investors VP Clarke Michalak. The panel also discussed the challenges of creative space. It’s well known to be more expensive to buildout than traditional office space, and there’s some risk that in five or seven years a new tenant will want something else very different (though that’s also a risk with more traditional space, as creative spaces become more mainstream). As worker density rises, having enough parking can also be an issue, though not all of the panelists saw that as a serious problem.
Allen Matkins partner Brad Nielsen, who moderated the developer/owner panel, and Greenlaw Partners VP Scott Murray. The move to creative office space is clearly tenant-driven. A lot of tenants want to be in the newest space —even if it’s adaptive reuse—and are asking for, and willing to pay for, full creative buildouts with completely open space, except for meeting rooms. The trend is more widely seen in places like Silicon Valley and Seattle, but the demand is here in Orange County as well. Not every business wants fully creative, open space, but others want elements of creative space combined with more traditional space, such as private offices and collaborative areas in the same buildout.
Here’s a shot of the raw gen2 Building space, in the John Wayne Airport submarket. Bixby and LPA Architects created this creative space as a redesign of a 45k SF two-story structure, focused on an outdoor deck that’s integrated with the interior spaces through a series of folding doors. According to Bixby, the space would work for one to three tenants. Tune in next edition for more event coverage.
One more fun part of the event: attendee Tim Gerlach flew his drone around the gen2 Building space (seen here flying next to our own Sean Spear). Tim's company drones office buildings all over California, and droned the exterior of the building before the event, and took video of the event—a first for Bisnow. Stay tuned for that soon, too!