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Why Hines Thinks This Is The Office Space Tenants Want

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Hines' San Diego division will soon break ground on La Jolla Commons III, a 220k SFClass-A-plus, vertical office tower. For details on the project, Bisnow spoke with Hines San Diego director Eric Hepfer, who is among the office experts speaking at San Diego’s Annual Office Forum on June 23.

Hines director Eric Hepfer with wife Kristy, son Greysonand daughter Annalise..

The project is uniquely designed to offer the best of both a vertical tower with expansive views and the most interesting creative office elements, Eric tells us.

“We’re taking elements of creative office—embracing what’s interesting about creative office—but putting them into a traditional vertical environment,” he says. Eric notes the project isn’t being marketed as creative office, but he says, “There is nothing like this in San Diego—it’s very cutting edge and unique.”

Conceptual drawing of La Jolla Commons III

Above is a conceptual drawing of La Jolla Commons III, but Eric says the design is likely to change somewhat.

Eric tells us the ground-floor plane is really the “star of the show.” The building features a fully amenitized and activated ground floor, with a San Diego feel, he says. Rather than a sterile, marble lobby, it provides a warm, cozy feel, like a boutique hotel lobby, with a fireplace and comfortable seating.

Expansive glass doors on three sides connect the lobby to outdoor spaces, extending the lobby outside. “This is our version of the roll-up door,” he adds.

Eric also explains the unique structure is designed as a “side core” building, with the elevator and restrooms on the side, rather than centrally located. “This provides three sides of 10-foot vision glass, which lets in significantly more natural light than standard glass, and open, collaborative floor plates,” he points out.

The building’s 14-foot floor-to-floor height can be expanded to create double height (24-foot) ceilings or even triple height in sections of the floor plate to create dramatic open areas that can serve as meeting or gathering space. There’s also a cut-away on the top floor, which can work as a balcony with glass doors, which can be opened on nice days to bring the outdoors inside or provide space for special events.

Walkway on La Jolla Commos campus

Other amenities include a full-service restaurant and café with fresh, healthy food choices, and a large indoor-outdoor gym with state-of-the-art equipment. La Jolla Commons office campus already features a putting green and driving range, bocce ball, outdoor fire pits and wetsuit lockers for tenants who surf. “We plan to take that to the next level, with outdoor WiFi and other infrastructure, so tenants can have meetings or work outdoors in our park,” Eric adds.

He notes the building meets California’s energy requirements, but also targets LEED certification. Hines may seek WELL Certification by the International WELL Building Institute. Eric says his team is working aggressively to meet WELL’s certification requirements, which revolve around occupant health and safety, such as a ventilation system that provides fresh, clean indoor air.

La Jolla Commons I was  the first LEED building in Southern California.

This unique building is typical of Hines, a pioneer in the green-building movement, founding member of the US Green Building Council and with an extensive portfolio of sustainable projects.

Eric notes that La Jolla Commons I (above), which was completed in 2008, was the first LEED-certified office tower in Southern California, and is extremely energy efficient. Completed in 2014, La Jolla Commons II (below) is the largest net-zero office building in the nation. It also is designed to be carbon neutral, operating on a fuel cell that burns biogas, or methane, from cow waste.

La Jolla Commons II is the largest net-zero office building in the nation and also is carbon neutral, operating off a fuel cell that burns biogas from cow waste.

The new building is not net-zero, but will be highly efficient and could be converted to net zero later on, Eric tells us. Marketing of the building is underway. Hines would like to pre-lease the space, but may build it spec. The rents, he says, will be comparable to other new Class-A buildings in the area, which are commanding rents in the mid-$4 range.

Hear more from Eric and other office experts at our San Diego Annual Office Forum on June 23, beginning with breakfast and networking at 7:30am, at the Westin San Diego, 400 W Broadway, in Downtown. Sign up here!