Tech Has Grown Out of the Garage

Insights Wired Resources | on January 05, 2016

Office space design is constantly changing to meet evolving tenant needs. For the commercial real estate industry, keeping up with these trends can be a tall order, but one that’s crucial to the long-term success of everyone involved. You don’t need brand new a billion-dollar building to attract top tenants – you just need to understand the changing office preferences in order to position your properties to stand out from the competition.

One of the best way to stay up-to-date on office space preferences is to watch the companies at the forefront of innovation. For more than a decade, big tech companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon have been leaders in the office space design scene, and based on their current plans that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Here are a few of the projects that are in the works:

  • Google’s proposed Mountain View office will be made of lightweight modular blocks and a glass canopy that can be adjusted to fit their business’ dynamic needs. There will be walking trails and bike paths throughout the pedestrian-friendly property, and parking will all be underground. The mixed-use development will be open to the local community and will include ground-floor retail space.
  • Apple’s new circular four-story “Spaceship” headquarters will sit on 176 acres and contain 2.8 million square feet of office space. Slated to be completed by the end of 2016, 80% of the property will be a professionally landscaped park with walking trails and jogging paths. Apple has said that 100% of the development’s energy will be generated on-site from renewable resources.
  • Amazon has taken over downtown Seattle with their 3.3 million square foot South Lake Union redevelopment which will include three connected glass domes that will combine office and retail space in a park-like setting. The five-story domes will be spacious enough for 1,800 employees and will be surrounded by other offices Amazon is developing in the area.

Common Trends

While all three of these planned developments are unique on their own ways, there are a number of common trends that they share:

Open-Air Design – All three of these projects are centered around an open-air design meant to improve communications and transparency among employees and reduce the stress of spending long hours in the office.

Adaptable Space – Tech companies have dynamic needs that are inevitably going to change over time. As a result, they need office space that is able to change with them as they grow, shrink, or focus on different projects.

Social Environment – Thanks to high-speed connectivity and cloud-based collaboration tools, the need for businesses to have a central office is quickly decreasing. As a result, the office has become more of a social setting featuring collaborative areas like cafes and game rooms.

How CRE Can Compete

Not many tech companies can build a $5 billion headquarters like Apple or redesign an entire downtown neighborhood like Amazon, but they will take direction from these tech giants when searching for office space. For the real estate professional, this means keeping up with changing trends and implementing them into their properties. For example, a developer could design open-space floorplans, a landlord could incorporate on-site retail space, and a broker could promote a building’s advanced connectivity and modern internet infrastructure.

At the end of the day, you don’t need a brand new Class A+ office building to attract great tenants – you just need to be able to use the resources available to make your property stick out when it comes to the evolving trends in office space design.


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