The Next Wave of Creative Office
The definition of creative office space is a bit of a moving target. Companies leasing space and developers building (or renovating) space need to have a clear vision of the way the office will function. That's why we're excited to host our Bisnow San Diego Creative Office Summit on Dec. 16 at 5015 Shoreham Pl. Register here.
Creative office space might not be a precise concept, but Bixby Land SVP Aaron Hill (snapped with CapRock Partners' Jonathan Pharris at a previous Bisnow event) tells us that there are common themes, such as less private space (but not none), more collaborative and gathering areas, and usable outdoor space, especially in California markets. Working outside "where there’s soft seating and a nice atmosphere--but also WiFi--is a big draw,” he says. But just opening the door and letting employees out isn't enough. “There’s no future in putting a bus-stop bench next to a water feature, and calling it an outdoor amenity. Tenants want more now.”
Much of Bixby’s recent work has involved converting traditional space into creative office, mostly in Silicon Valley at the beginning of the recovery from the recession, but more recently in SoCal as the concept has caught on here. The company currently has two creative office projects in San Diego, the 60k SF Mira Mesa Business Park in Sorrento Mesa (pictured)--flex space being converted into creative office lofts--and the conversion of the 76k SF 9797 Areo Dr in Kearny Mesa, which used to be occupied by the FBI (making its existing condition one of the least creative spaces imaginable, Aaron says). “The Kearny Mesa project won’t be as far on the creative curve as Sorrento Mesa, because one size doesn’t fit all,” he says. “You have to know your market.”
Unisource Solutions president Anne Benge tells us that creative space begins with open space, and so furniture plays a bigger role in the office than ever before. “Tenants are learning how furniture can be used to make space more creative,” she says, but it’s important to note that the furnishings don’t have to be elaborate or expensive to make people want to be in a space. A well-lit place where people can sit comfortably and work easily at a table, as well as look at the same screen at the same time, is where people will want to gather (provided there’s access to good coffee, too).
With more communal space, there’s an ongoing redefinition of where furniture needs to go, especially in terms of items devoted to a single, private spaces. At Unisource’s own offices (pictured), there’s a variety of space to keep things interesting, Anne says, including some private spots, but also a meeting area that feels like a ’50s diner, and a formal boardroom. Join us at our Bisnow San Diego Creative Office Summit on Dec. 16 at 5015 Shoreham Pl. (Tickets here.)