How can Class-a office buildings be creative?
To have to have a creative building you can’t just have a creative space. The lobby needs to be creative, and the hallways need to be creative as well. What is creative? Not going to try to philosophize here, but stylistically the kind employs raw materials (raw metal, raw wood, raw brick, & raw cement), exposed ceilings (not dropped), and interesting flooring that is not carpeting. Aside from that glass dividers tend to create a creative aesthetic and the use has become increasing popular. Also, as you could imagine, the use of art needs to be placed in strategic locations that create an experience for the person touring the building.
Creative buildings not only need to create an interesting experience but maintain a high end and professional appeal. How does this happen? Well, simply by virtue of being located on Bunker Hill and a being a sky-scraper accomplishes that. What also should be considered is, what kind of technology is used create an experience and how does this technology benefit the professional person experiencing the building? One concept to consider is the music that is played in the common areas.
Also, what choices do the amenities of the creative building afford the person experiencing the building? If you’re using a conference room, can you adjust the environment in any way, perhaps even customize it? Does the environment react to the person’s presence?
Is there anything in the building one wouldn’t normally expect to see in an office building? Perhaps there’s a virtual golfing room or a bar in an unusual location within the building. These sort of things are things to think about for class-a building owners and managers to think about: how can they make people feel like they’re not in a traditional office environment when they experience their building? However, there are some inherent obstacles that most creative office buildings lack.
One item that is lacking is, historic charm. Turn of the 20th-century buildings automatically captures the creative vibe by virtue of being so “original.” Often times, for historic building owners, making their building creative is a matter of bringing back the historical integrity of the building that years of style changes have covered up.
Another challenge for class-a office towers in Downtown Los Angeles is that typically they do not have high ceilings. It’s not like class-a owners and managers can remove the second floor to make the first floor twice the size. So one thing to consider is, how can we make up for the lack of high ceilings? There’s no easy answer to that question but it is certainly an opportunity to make some creative choices.
“I think creative ways of employing technology is one advantage class-a buildings can capitalize on more easily than historic buildings. Tech companies would be especially attracted to this sort of element more than, say, for instance, an artist looking for studio space. It’s easier to make class-a buildings seem high-tech more than it is for historic buildings. Business owners that want to appear high-tech are easier fish to catch for class-a buildings. I would think an owner of a class-a building would get more bang for his buck improving his building technologically than say for instance a building owner of a historic property spending it on a building lobby mural.”
I’ve been asked whether the creative office culture can mesh with the traditional office culture, and my answer to that is yes. Just because you’re wearing a suit and tie and another guy is wearing jeans with a tucked in shirt doesn’t mean the two cannot coincide. I believe what should be on the owner or manager’s mind of the class-a buildings in these instances is, how can we make our marketing materials reflect a mixed office culture environment? By spring boarding such an advertising plan, it can educate existing tenants and new tenants about a paradigm shift in environment.
These are just a few things that one can consider when re-envisioning traditional class-a buildings.
For more commercial real estate and office space for lease in Downtown Los Angeles, especially creative office space, contact me, commercial real estate broker, Donegan McCuaig. Cheers.