3 office conversion projects we should all be excited about

CRE Market, Insights | Sanjaya Ranasinghe on July 14, 2017

In a recent interview with Bdaily, Workspace Group’s Operations Director Chris Pieroni acknowledged that the demand for well-connected offices has recently grown in importance. He stated “you wouldn’t have looked at technology as a metric of property performance even five years ago, so there’s been a massive swing towards technology”. This demand is only going to grow stronger as more digital-savvy employees enter the workforce, so landlords are preparing their buildings now to stay ahead of the tech curve.

Over time, every office space must evolve to keep pace with the changing demands of tenants. This ranges from simple changes such as upgrading security systems, or completing a large scale fit out to include better facilities. These changes are viewed as a necessary investments to stop a building becoming obsolete.

Tasked with the challenge of meeting the latest demands, landlords have ambitiously transformed older buildings and unconventional sites into dynamic, tech enabled office spaces.

Here are just three that we’re excited about:

Battersea Power Station, London

Battersea Power Station is part of London’s property royalty. The iconic building is now undergoing a massive redevelopment, set to cost its investors a whopping £9bn.

In building a new, innovative, tech base in an iconic part of London’s history, Apple is set to create a new “Apple Campus” that will bring together 1,400 members of staff from different sites across the capital. This move is a vote of confidence in London’s older buildings; proving that older buildings can be renovated to become cutting edge spaces for the tech industry.

Furthermore, not only is this an older building, but also one with its own rich history. There’s no doubt that this kind of prestige is important for attracting big companies to newly redeveloped areas. Silicon Roundabout’s label as a “tech hub” and Shoreditch being hailed as the “creative capital” are examples of where the brand behind the location was key to attracting big names.

It will be interesting to watch in the future if similar symbols of history also play a role in redefining high tech, office areas.

Dublin Airport Central

Once an airport, always an airport – or not, as Dublin’s new 24k sq. m. office development demonstrates. Four new office buildings will be developed on the site north of Terminal 2, alongside a pavilion café and an impressive 742-space multi-storey car park.

The development, which is set to start construction early next year, is targeted to be attractive to both Irish and multinational companies due to its great links to the rest of Europe, North America and the Middle East.

It will be intriguing to see how much this will affect Dublin as an international hub, and whether it will create another hotspot outside of the highly sought after Docklands area.

The Cursitor Building, London

Originally built in the late 1980s, The Cursitor Building has been completely remodelled under advisement by Endurance Land, and relaunched as an entirely new building in line with the widespread regeneration seen around Chancery Lane in recent years.

Retaining a small piece of its original façade as a link to the area’s rich history, the vibrant and contemporary office space combines the best of 21st century design and digital investment with the heritage of its location.  

One important aspect of the redevelopment was the role that connectivity can now play in the business of its tenants. Earlier this year, it achieved a Wired Certified Platinum rating for its best-in-class digital connectivity infrastructure.

Commenting on securing the most prestigious Wired Certification level, Estelle Hunt of Aberdeen Asset Management commented, “Connectivity is a key driver in today’s market, and has played a pivotal role in the development of this first class building. The attention to detail on connectivity will ensure that the building is future-proofed to meet tenant connectivity needs.”

Re-evolution of buildings

The tenant checklist for an office space has changed dramatically in the last five years. The desire to have an office space which reflects their company’s image and values has played a powerful role in helping tenants decide where to base their business. However, as acknowledged by forward thinking landlords, a building must also deliver on their tenant’s tech needs.  

We are encouraged to see that landlords are prioritising digital connectivity alongside the traditional features of a ‘“cool” office space. These redevelopments will allow tenants to enjoy the experience of occupying a building with an historic past, yet be assured that they have the right digital tools required to innovate.

Offices will undoubtedly continue to evolve throughout their lifetime to meet these demands. With these recent projects in mind, we are not limited in our imagination in what new offices can look like.

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