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Exclusive Q&A: Brookfield Office Properties' David Sternberg On The West Coast Office Market

Brookfield Office Properties EVP David Sternberg is a 30-year veteran in the real estate industry and has managed over 40M SF of assets. Bisnow caught up with David to find out more about the West Coast office market. Find out more from David and more than 30 speakers at Bisnow’s Office Leasing & Development Series West Nov. 2 in San Francisco.


Bisnow: What are some of the top office trends right now?

David Sternberg: The use of space has changed dramatically. The workforce has become more comfortable working in a collaborative space as opposed to traditional private office setting. More firms are going to open space and breakout areas. This trend started in the technology sector in the Bay Area, but nationwide, open spaces are becoming more common.

Bisnow: What kinds of things are demanded by tenants that you expect will be long-term trends?

David: Because tenants prefer open workspaces, they want a raw feel. They don’t want the traditional office aesthetics. While we are predominantly an investor in high-rises, we’ve found many tenants prefer collaborative work areas, and we’re trying to adapt to that in many of our buildings across the country.

Bisnow: What makes the West Coast office market unique? And what is unique within Northern California?

David: There is a highly educated, exceptional workforce to choose from. Employers, and certainly those in the Bay Area, have a strong university system that feeds that workforce. People also want to work here and in the Northwest due to its quality-of-life offerings. Certainly the offices in Northern California have been trendsetters in open office workspace. A lot of that has started here and moved its way east.

Bisnow: What do you typically look for in a potential property?

David: We are very attracted to urban work centers that have great access to public transit and public infrastructure, especially in cities seeing an influx of residential growth within the city core itself. For instance, we have seen exponential growth in lower Manhattan, which has contributed to successful office leasing and a transformation of retail and public spaces. As cities grow and workforces grow, reliance on public transportation is increasingly important. It also allows employers to attract a wider net of employees. Many employers are looking to be in urban centers providing that 24/7 amenity base for their employees.

Bisnow: How is Brookfield building its portfolio to reflect what you’re expecting in the market?

David: As stated previously we are creating amenities to offer tenants places to collaborate, unwind and enjoy an array of healthy food options. Recent examples of some of these transformations have occurred in our assets throughout the country, including Brookfield Place New YorkAllen Center – Houston and FIGat7th – LA.

Hear more from David and our other speakers at Bisnow's Office Leasing & Development Series West on Nov. 2 at The Hibernia Bank in San Francisco.