trends you can’t
Learn what’s rearranging Atlanta’s office scene
Creative offices are more than just open-concept floor plans and colorful spaces. They are about flexibility, on-site and nearby amenities and environmentally-friendly and health-conscious design — which is why there is 1.4 million square feet of creative office space under development in Atlanta.
Urban submarkets like Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead remain the hottest areas for creative office space in Atlanta. Early pioneers in the creative office movement transformed abandoned industrial buildings into creative office collectives with retail amenities to service the workforce and surrounding residential areas – creating game-changing possibilities for the neighborhoods they call home. But newer players are starting from the ground up—developing an all-new product that companies want. Here are three trends making the most immediate and significant impacts on Atlanta’s creative office space.
Landlords loosen up
As companies continue to adjust their operations during Covid-19, landlords are finding innovative ways to accommodate tenants’ financial and space needs in order to stay agile. They’re also looking for ways to temporarily comply with the new workplace norms without long-term impacts on design.
In fact, many landlords are removing the extra hurdles that tenants usually have to jump over in the leasing process—this includes providing spec suites or plug-and-play options that allow tenants to bypass the design and construction stages. In addition, shorter terms and termination or contraction clauses provide the flexibility tenants are seeking right now.
The rise of hybrid models
As more creative office features and design elements find their way into new developments and renovations of existing office properties, the distinction between creative and trophy classifications has blurred, resulting in properties with a foothold in each sphere – thus producing hybrid models.
Companies can offer the type of environment their younger workforce is drawn to while maintaining the finish and amenity level long valued from trophy buildings.
The hybrid model is appealing to a wide swath of tenants and draws groups from the technology, advertising, media and information sectors. It’s no secret that technology companies have helped fuel the current economic expansion and given the support they’ve received from the venture capital community, we expect they’ll continue to consume premium commercial real estate.
Converting for COVID-19
Projects that are currently under construction will undergo the most permanent changes to space and building design. These include high-quality air purification filters, bi-polar ionization for HVAC equipment, touchless restroom features and hand-wave or foot-pull activations for doors and passageways through building common areas. Granite Properties and MetLife are even exploring the ability to program the main elevators at Midtown Union to operate via Bluetooth from a cell phone.
As employees return to the office, they will expect to have more space, less desk sharing and increased support for mobile and virtual work. But they will also crave collaboration and social connection, so landlords will likely be redrawing floorplans to reduce density and provide larger collaboration spaces. Outdoor dining and meeting space is also more desirable in the COVID-19 environment. Landlords will benefit from ensuring that their common areas and outdoor spaces are well designed and functional for their tenants.
Many of the design features in creative office spaces work well in the current health crisis environment. Prior to COVID-19, direct exterior access was viewed as more of a convenience. But the pandemic has shown that kind of access is actually a health and safety feature that lets people avoid the close quarters of the elevator. Roll-up doors were considered a cool feature that blends indoor and outdoor space; now it’s a way to provide fresh air to tenants. In addition, many creative spaces have separate HVAC systems for each tenant, giving them more control over their air quality and filtration.
As landlords and tenants evaluate the impact of the pandemic on their future space, creative office environments are positioned to meet the new standards, allowing flexibility for office configurations, outdoor amenities and designs that promote health and safety.
Looking to understand the creative office market and exploring scenarios that best fit your current needs? Click here to download a guide that breaks down the ways start-ups can tap into creative office space.