Elevating workplace amenities to rival co-working spaces and hospitality-rich conveniences

What’s trending in office amenities and what it means for building owners

Building owners are facing heightened pressure to keep up with the requests of their tenants, who are becoming more vocal about the conveniences they desire. It’s no surprise—the workday isn’t just eight to five anymore. Employees spend up to 18 hours per day working, many more than what used to be the standard 40 hours per week. As a result, while conference rooms and fitness centers are still necessary, the desired tenant experience reaches far beyond that. Today’s office buildings need to play an integral role in the daily lives of the employees who work there.

The demand for new amenities isn’t revolutionary—it has existed for years. This “amenities war” has driven competition between building owners to boast the highest quality features their budgets allow. Forward-thinking building owners and co-working companies were some of the first to recognize and fulfill the desires for hospitality-style amenities and flexible work spaces.

So, what are the new amenity trends shaping the workday, and how can they benefit building owners and tenants alike?

Industry-leading amenities that are increasing value

Today’s workforce is seeking the ideal live-work-play lifestyle with hospitality-rich and modern conveniences such as cafés, gyms—with fitness classes and personal training—and dry-cleaning services. These types of amenities create a one-stop-shop for tenants’ daily to-do lists, saving them time and money.

Locally, office building lounges and game rooms have become standard. There’s been a shift in office dynamics, as common areas and individual spaces are growing while private offices, cubes and benching areas are shrinking. Walkability from an employee’s desk to amenity space is key, and the additions of coffee, restaurants, fresh food vending, retail, food trucks, and bike rooms—along with bike share programs—have helped create the well-rounded experience tenants desire.

Other amenities that tenants and their employees desire are the elements outside of the four walls of their office space. They are looking for more natural light and a chance to get out of the office for a quick break in the day, so building owners are transforming outdoor areas around the office with patios, seating, shade sails, grills, and outdoor games. This workforce is also increasingly environmentally conscious and places high value on sustainability efforts and eco-friendly options for their workspace, such as a building being LEED certified, having recycling bins, and providing compostable utensils and cups.

Another important feature is security at the office. Roving security offices, turnstiles and key card access elevators deter unwanted guests from visiting office buildings and create a safer environment for employees.

Implementing co-working style amenities like these enables building owners to keep up with trends in larger markets. In fact, it’s common that ideas from Chicago or other major cities are implemented in Indianapolis office buildings through new institutional owners.

Opportunities for new and existing buildings alike in Indianapolis

In Downtown Indianapolis, we see new developments and existing Class A space as examples of building ownership taking the updated amenity offerings to heart and fostering this modern, comfortable and convenient experience for the tenants.

Market Tower renovated their first three floors to become a shared tenant common space with a lounge—complete with games, comfortable seating and TV screens—along with conference rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Salesforce Tower has also undergone significant amenity improvements, such as adding the Nexxus lounge that features conference rooms, gathering spaces, ping pong, a putting green, upgraded fresh vending options, entertainment space that can be reserved for private functions, and indoor bike storage that immediately sold out.

The newest redevelopment project to cause excitement for office users downtown is the Bottleworks District. This will be a first of its kind for Indianapolis and has offerings such as an office space, food hall, destination entertainment, residential space, retail, and more—providing tenants everything they need within a short walk.

With talent flocking to Indianapolis at rapid rates comes high expectations for office amenities, based on what they’ve experienced in other markets. As a result, Indianapolis building owners and developers are dedicating increased budgets to enhancing amenities that attract new tenants.

Several Central Indiana suburban building owners have also started investing their dollars in upgrading amenities and master-planning new offerings. It’s a natural fit, as larger suburban office parks have a size advantage for providing more high-end offerings.

Keystone at the Crossing

One of the earliest live-work-play destinations boasts conference facilities, a fitness center, a putting green and bocce ball along with unmatched proximity to retail, restaurants, entertainment, and hotels, providing tenants with an urban-suburban feel. The project was recently sold to DRA Advisors and M&J Wilkow and will be improved even more with lobby renovations and a plan to take advantage of outdoor areas and increase walkability.

Lakefront at Keystone

This office park, formerly Precedent Office Park, is being transformed into an urban oasis. The 38-acre lake at the center of the park will become a focal point as new, unequaled outdoor amenities open in the fall of 2019. Examples include The Harbor, a barge-like feature that will sit on the water and is ideal for outdoor events and dining; The Anchor, a tenant fitness center with conference rooms and a café for coffee, breakfast, and lunch; The Boardwalk, a walking path and sports court; and The Landing, an outdoor lounge. These new amenities total more than a $6 million investment by Strategic Capital Partners and Rubenstein Partners.

PARC at Parkwood Crossing

As of 2018, a brand-new, free-standing, 8,000-square-foot two-story fitness center, meeting space and café is available for tenants to enjoy. The fitness center is professionally managed and offers state-of-the-art equipment, group classes and private training. For tenants looking to rent the meeting space, they can expect flexible seating options and high-tech capabilities. Feedback from tenants and the brokerage community has been overwhelmingly positive.

Downtown Carmel

Tenants do more than just park their car and go to work in Downtown Carmel. Shops, restaurants, public art and galleries, proximity to the Monon Trail, and outdoor placemaking space within convenient walking distance from the office all provide a downtown feel in the suburbs. As a result, Downtown Carmel is emerging as a top-tier office destination for tenants.

Downtown Fishers and The Yard

Much like Downtown Carmel, Downtown Fishers has transformed into a desirable area for tenants with walkable amenities including new restaurants like Four Day Ray Brewery, numerous retail and fitness options, structured parking, living options, and hotels. In addition, Thompson Thrift has master-planned The Yard at Fishers District as a mixed-use development that will combine dining, retail, entertainment, hotel and residential living into a walkable destination. Adjacent to the development, The Station will also offer premiere Class A office space in the heart of it all. With the addition of a new trail system, The Yard, Downtown Fishers, and surrounding parks will all be seamlessly connected to make transportation easier than ever.

Looking ahead: What does this mean for building owners?

The advancements we’re seeing in Indy prove one thing: Building owners need to be willing to invest more in amenities to see the highest return on their assets. In the past, approximately three percent of a landlord’s portfolio was committed to amenities. Today, owners are allocating 10 percent or more.

How will upgraded amenities help building owners in the long run? Assets will be graded not on price, but on value. It’s well known that office space in Indianapolis can be commoditized easily, meaning it’s graded only by price per square foot. Having top-tier amenities in an office building attracts more tenants and equals higher rents, leading to faster leasing and higher occupancy—which increases the building value for ownership.

Implementing these new features ensures you stay ahead of the competition and build the ideal live-work-play environment your tenants seek.

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