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Luxury Amenities Boosting Rates In Office Properties

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Luxury amenities boosting occupancy rates in office properties

Midwest Real Estate News spoke to Helenia Madrigal, Director of Interiors, about the difference that amenities can make.

Midwest Real Estate News: What are some of the amenities that are becoming more popular in office properties? Helenia MadrigalDuring the last five years or so, I’ve seen several amenities that have become important for office buildings. First, there is the addition of significant conference areas, rooms that can fit a couple hundred people. In these conference rooms, they’ve gone from very basic phone plug-in environments to very high-tech AV systems. They are doing teleconferencing. They have TV monitors. They have all the bells and whistles.

On the flip side, I’ve seen impressive bar and lounge areas that have been developed in office buildings. In some cases, there have been roof-deck environments. Many office buildings are adding on-site fitness centers.

MREN: What impact do these higher-end amenities have on office buildings? Madrigal: In the buildings we have worked on, the ones in which we have added amenities like these, the occupancy rates started at around 70 percent. By the time we were done with the amenity spaces and a year had gone by, these buildings were usually at occupancy rates of upwards of 90 percent. These spaces do draw in tenants. People, tenants and companies are looking for convenience. They want to come into their office buildings any time of the day, five in the morning or nine at night, to work out. They want to be able to have a little office party that can happen in on-site bar and lounge areas.

In one of the buildings I worked on, there is a full-service kitchen area. That is a pretty intense add to the office building. People can come to one of the floors of the building, without having to walk outside, to have a full-blown gourmet lunch at a reasonable price. That’s the type of amenity that tenants like.

MREN: We are seeing these amenities in urban offices in the center of cities. But what about in suburban locations? Madrigal: In the suburbs, the amenities are all about convenience. When you go to work in the suburbs, you might have more of a drive to get to the office. You might be there eight to 12 hours a day. It might not only be the place you work at. It might also be the place you go to eat and to workout. So those type of food and fitness amenities are important in suburban locations and can make a difference in attracting tenants.

Then there are the meeting spaces. Many suburban office buildings are offering larger meeting rooms. This way, companies don’t have to find an outside location for a meeting every time they want to meet with a group of more than 15 to 20 people. Anything that can help companies avoid wasting time driving to locations for a gathering is an important amenity in the suburbs.

MREN: Why are we seeing a growth in these amenity types today in office buildings? Madrigal: Maybe building owners are now realizing that offices are not just a place for people to come in and work. Maybe they realize that after so many years. The more you can offer people, things that are important to them, the more attractive your building is. Look at fitness. Fitness is such a big trend right now. People use fitness bands to track their steps. Office buildings that have their own fitness centers gain a significant advantage. Those who give everyone a chance to work out for half-an-hour and go right back to work are offering something that people want.

The changing trends we are seeing, everything from people spending more time at work to the boom in fitness, are a changing the mentality of business owners and developers. It is no longer enough to offer just an office space. The idea of convenience and being able to do more in less time is coming to the forefront. Building owners are recognizing that. The trends come from us, those of us who inhabit the office spaces. There is a demand out there. Developers and building owners are seeing it.

A Look at the New Threadless Office in the West Loop

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Chicago apparel company Threadless is yet another outfit to open a new office in the booming Fulton Market area, having just moved their headquarters into the multi-use Morgan Manufacturing development at 401 N. Morgan. The company, which was previously located at 406 N. Sangamon, recently shifted their production and distribution operations to facilities in other states, and no longer has a need for warehouse space in the greater downtown area. Founded in Chicago in 2000 as a producer of graphic t-shirts, the company’s product line has since grown to include everything from shower curtains to phone cases. For their new office, Threadless teamed up with Summit Design + Build, a firm that is also based in the Fulton Market District.

Not totally dissimilar to other offices in the area, the new Threadless headquarters features an open floor plan filled with colorful furniture. And the office reflects the nature of their business model—producing clothing and other items with artist-submitted designs—with the large murals found throughout the space. According to Summit Design + Build, Threadless will continue filling the space with more murals throughout the year. And with a ten year lease on the space, Threadless will remain a presence in the West Loop area for years to come.

Two phase build-out for Golden State Foods

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Work on offices and training space completes second floor CHICAGO – Chicago general contractor, Summit Design + Build, recently completed a two phase office build-out for food distributor, Golden State Foods. The two phases totaled approximately 10,000 square feet and finished the second floor of the company’s McCook, Ill. headquarters.
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New Warehouse | Pilsen Industrial Corridor

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Speculative warehouse another sign of strong industrial market CHICAGO, IL – Chicago general contractor Summit Design + Build recently began construction on a new 156,000 square foot speculative warehouse and distribution building at 2420 S. Wood Street in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, another area in the city seeing the impact of…
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Summit Hires Two Industry Veterans

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New senior level positions signal growth of the firm, creation of interiors division CHICAGO – Chicago general contractor, Summit Design + Build, LLC, recently welcomed Leo Hoerdemann and Helenia Madrigal to the firm. The two industry veterans have filled new senior leadership roles that were created as a result of…
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