By: Lindsey Kite, Tori Selfe, and Michaela Murphy
Increased rents, deal velocity, improved tenant retention and higher listing prices often come down to one thing – perceived value.
Creating that value is what discerning landlords are always focused on, and as we enter a decade that will be defined by Millennials (by 2030, they will make up 75% of the workforce), the focus is increasingly on creating value for them. As designers, we’re framing our approach to space planning through the lens of what’s important to Millennials now, as well as how we’ll engage them over the course of the next 10 years. One of the key commonalities of Millennials as a generation is their commitment to community – locally and digitally. In both, they are active, connected, and tuned in.
In individual suites, we’re seeing it’s all about choice. Meet in person or virtually. Sit, stand or even walk at your desk. Work in pods or store away the divider walls. In the building amenity spaces, it’s all about community, and we’re rethinking the design, functionality and even purpose of common areas.
The lobby used to be for reception and waiting. But with a cafe in place of the reception desk, you immediately change the vibe of the whole building to something that feels less like work and more like hospitality. It’s welcoming, engaging, and people choose to spend time there freely, making it a much more energized, welcoming transition space. Up top, the roof is getting a lot more attention as usable space than it used to, and tenants take great advantage of green roofs as an outdoor lunch spot or for after-work events. Soon, you can probably expect to see these become standard for any new building.
Conference rooms are also getting a makeover. No longer just for training sessions and board meetings, the key now is to be able to adapt to many different scales – for large groups and breakout sessions within the same event. Less formal conference rooms are even being combined with modern fitness centers now, as a lounge area to wrap up the day’s emails or make a playlist for your workout, serving as a great option for buildings that can’t accommodate both a conference room and fitness center.
But doing something different – something not seen all over the market right now – is a good strategy for staying top of mind with potential tenants. If you’ve got parking space to work with and your tenants are foodies, why not create a food truck spot with a great dining area? In the end, though, the best design solutions are always based on your property’s unique possibilities, the context surrounding it, and the tenants you’re trying to attract. That’s what makes it authentic to your brand, and distinctive in the market.