2A — February 23 - March 15, 2018 — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


M id A tlantic R eal E state J ournal Publisher, Conference Producer . .............Linda Christman AVP, Conference Producer ...........................Lea Christman Associate Publisher ......................................... Steve Kelley Associate Publisher ........................................... Kim Brunet Associate Publisher ..................................... Miriam Buttrick Senior Editor/Graphic Artist ..........................Karen Vachon Contributing Columnists: ..............................Lisa Cassidy, ecoImagine; Amy Lopez, Brockerhoff Environmental Services LLC; Joshua Zinder AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, JZA+D Postmaster send address change to: Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal 350 Lincoln St, Suite 1105, Hingham, MA 02043 USPS #22-358 | Vol. 30, Issue 4 Subscription rates: $99 - one year, $198 - two years, $4 - single copy REPORT AN ERROR IMMEDIATELY MARE Journal will not be responsible for more than one incorrect insertion Phone: 781-740-2900 | Fax: 781-740-2929 www.marejournal.com The views expressed by contributing columnists are not necessarily representative of the Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal Mid Atlantic R eal E state J ournal ~ Published Semi-Monthly Periodicals postage paid at Rockland, Massachusetts and additional mailing offices

M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


$80,000,000 IN NEW LOANS BY OUR BALTIMORE TEAM Gaithersburg, Baltimore, and Fulton, Maryland

Joshua Zinder, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Robust Amenities Offerings Critical to Successful Repositioning O wners and develop- ers considering re- positioning efforts to address the suburban of- fice park properties in their portfolios may not be aware of many of the available, cost- effective solutions. Competing for Class A tenants is within reach, in spite of the challeng- es associated with commercial campuses located well outside of urban centers. JZA+D, an architecture and interiors firm based in Princeton, New Jersey, has led many reposi- tioning efforts of this kind, the results leading to ongoing col- laborative partnerships with our clients. It is critical for the owner- developer to understand why tenant companies are at- tracted to leasable offices in urban settings, where the rent is typically high, spaces are small, and parking op- tions few. The primary reason is that these companies need to recruit and retain talented employees, a growing number of whom (soon to be a majority of the workforce, according to multiple studies) are mil- lennials. The conventional wisdom surrounding this demographic is that they — and the post-millennial gen- eration to follow — prefer a metropolitan lifestyle. This is an oversimplification. When given the option, people of almost any generation will express a preference for the lower costs and ample room associated with the suburbs. This holds true for millennials and post-millennials as long as they perceive they would not sacrifice the highly integrated social atmosphere and density of social activity and amenities on offer in city centers. The key to successful repositioning of office park properties, there- fore, is to work with a design team that can guide a process aimed at replicating an urban lifestyle experience using cost- effective solutions. The primary focus of such efforts pertains to amenities. Living and working ‘down- town’ affords dining, retail, service, and entertainment options within close range. Redeveloping a property’s

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shared spaces with robust amenities offerings position the property to compete with office space in the city, and may provide secondary ben- efits as well. Some offerings are essential, such as a café with healthy, enticing food options, while other offerings represent likewise high-value additions to a property: ex- tended-hours food and retail kiosks, fitness equipment with lockers and showers, and even less common options like a drop-off laundry/dry clean- ing counter, or a golf simula- tor. Amenities like these help to position a property as an attractive alternative to city offices, and may simultane- ously create new revenue streams for the owner. This approach to reposition- ing also creates a win-win scenario for the owner and tenant firm: The availability of shared amenities on site re- lieves the tenant of providing certain amenities within their office footprint, allowing them to consider renting a smaller space, which in turn makes it possible for the owner to increase the per-square-foot rental rate, even as the ten- ant firm perceives they have saved substantially on facili- ties costs. Additionally, tenant firms often find that their em- ployees are more inclined to work longer hours, since they have options for food, fitness, and more just steps away. In addition to amenities, effort should be made to rep- licate the highly integrated social atmosphere of an urban center. One approach would be to provide lounge areas and break spaces with comfort- able furniture arranged for occupants to relax, work, or hold informal meetings as they choose. Making Wi-Fi avail- able promotes an atmosphere of connectedness associated

with urban locales, especially when supported with charging stations for devices through- out common areas, even in- tegrated into furnishings. To create a sense of place, community, and belonging, a water feature or sculptural installation can go a long way. Finally, successful repo- sitioning projects typically include significant aesthetic upgrades. Common areas of commercial office buildings designed decades ago are often dark and unwelcoming, but transforming them into bright, inviting spaces for col- laborating or eating and re- laxing is not only achievable, but can be a part of making the facility more sustainable. Many such projects combine light-colored interior finishes and elegant lighting solutions with added transparencies that increase the penetration of natural daylight. Designs that integrate these elements can reduce electrical con- sumption while creating that sense of place that building occupants will appreciate. Further integrating bespoke elements such as graphic art or custom furnishings can even contribute a sense of authenticity — the feeling that the space is organically, intrinsically meaningful — another attribute that mil- lennials and post-millennials gravitate toward. Joshua Zinder, AIA, is founding partner of Josh- ua Zinder Architecture + Design (JZA+D), an ar- chitecture and interiors practice headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey. The firm's international portfolio includes com- mercial, hospitality, re- tail, and residential proj- ects, as well as product, furniture and graphic designs. n

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