How To Take Your Business From Corporate To Cool

May 25, 2017   |   Forbes

by: David Martin 

Read on: www.forbes.com

For many companies in "corporate America," choosing the right office space has long been about securing the most efficient space, the most convenient parking, and the highest-grade finishes in shiny skyscrapers near a city’s central business district. But now, as Millennials and young executives become the dominant generation in the American workforce, we’re seeing companies ditch corporate for cool.

Millennials, defined as 18-to-34-year-olds, now make up more than one-third of the U.S. workforce, accounting for the largest generation at work today. Because research indicates younger members of the workforce prefer utilizing public transit, walking to work over driving, and living and working within close proximity, it’s no surprise that urban areas have become the chosen home turf for millennials – and the companies seeking to hire them are following close behind.

More and more, major brands are foregoing sterile office towers for edgy workspace in areas that are walkable, home to trendy restaurants and bars, and close to accessible housing options. Developers are responding by building stylish office space suited for tenants ranging from entrepreneurial startups to Fortune 500 brands, a trend that’s giving birth to emerging neighborhoods across the country.

In Miami, we’re seeing this play out in two of the City’s hottest urban neighborhoods. Long-known for its bohemian laid-back lifestyle, Coconut Grove has come alive in recent years as a residential, dining and shopping hotspot home to big-name corporate brands like Virgin Hotels, Sony Music, General Electric and SapientNitro. Because the area has lacked purpose-built office space for so long, these companies have had no choice but to convert old shops, restaurants and even movie theaters into retrofitted office space.

Now, for the first time in 30 years, Coconut Grove is preparing to welcome three new office buildings, led by the mixed-use Mary Street complex.

A few miles away, in Miami’s once-blighted Wynwood district, we’ve seen decades-old warehouses enjoy second lives as makeshift offices home to companies like Revlon and GoPro. Today, we’re seeing conventional office developers take steps to transform this graffiti-covered haven for aspiring artists and creatives into a legitimate office market, with four new office buildings planned in the neighborhood for the first time ever.

Miami is not alone. In Chicago, developers have transformed the City’s Fulton Market district from a gritty industrial zone into a mixed-use neighborhood that’s capturing global brands like Google, McDonald’s and Dyson, the high-tech vacuum cleaner maker which announced it would relocate its US headquarters to the area later this year.

On the west coast, the once-overlooked Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles – better known as “DTLA” – has seen an influx of new restaurants, bars, hotels, and residences. Now, office developers and investors are preparing to welcome corporate blood into the mix. Following last October’s announcement that Warner Music Group will move hundreds of employees into a former auto plant in DTLA, big-time players like Hudson Pacific Properties, Atlas Capital, and Tishman Speyer are pouring millions into the area by converting old buildings into newly-designed office space.

Millennials and young executives have already changed the way real estate investors are planning residential and retail development and the way communities are bringing new neighborhoods to life. Now, as our workforce becomes younger, the office market is emerging as the next frontier in the race for capturing millennials.

On the west coast, the once-overlooked Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles – better known as “DTLA” – has seen an influx of new restaurants, bars, hotels and residences. Now, office developers and investors are preparing to welcome corporate blood into the mix. Following last October’s announcement that Warner Music Group will move hundreds of employees into a former auto plant in DTLA, big-time players like Hudson Pacific Properties, Atlas Capital and Tishman Speyer are pouring millions into the area by converting old buildings into newly-designed office space.