Commercial Investment Real Estate May/June 2017 - Page 19

Whether new build or renovation, aesthetically successful offi ce developments provide a collaborative, industrial vibe. Ceilings are up to 14 feet high, windows maximize natu- ral light, and large tables place workers in closer proximity to boost collaboration. Signif icantly denser, employee spaces range from 125 to 150 sf compared to 300 sf during the 1990s. But what modern offi ces lack in dedicated space, they make up for with collaborative areas. In-house cafés and breakout rooms with comfortable seating and recreational distractions are geared toward the new work culture dynamic. The phenomenon of telecommuting is essential to the long- term trends affecting offi ce space. Estimates suggest only 70 to 75 percent of a company’s workforce is in a physical offi ce on any given workday, which contributes to needing less physical offi ce space. Virtual Offi ces Widespread connectivity, cloud computing, and digital services supporting a virtual offi ce have enabled workers the fl exibility to reinvent how and where work is done. GoToMeeting and Skype allow colleagues to chat “face-to-face” from different geographic locations. Providers of rentable offi ce, meeting, and collaboration spaces such as WeWork and Regus further enlarge the defi nition of work and workspace. Collaboration platforms such as Micro- soft’s SharePoint and Slack allow for virtual collaboration within an enterprise and promote the technological trend of dynamic, shared knowledge. What does that mean for investors? Gateway and smaller mar- kets attracting a highly educated, highly skilled workforce will continue to thrive. Urban offi ce properties will continue to be in demand, as well as those served by mass transit or located near urban housing and amenities. Open fl oor plans and industrial aesthetics will continue to replace the drop-ceiling spaces and cubicles of the 1990s. Cities that are not immediate markets for the highly educated, newly graduated workforce may suffer, though certain infi ll Sunbelt locations are capitalizing on steady demand and reasonable pric- ing. On the other hand, commodity suburban properties not accessible by mass transit or with outmoded, diffi cult-to-renovate interiors are rapidly becoming obsolete. Scott Crowe is chief investment strategist at CenterSquare Investment Management in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Contact him at Are you ready to travel? CCIM Institute’s Fall Governance Meetings and Global Conference Oct. 14-18 | Westin Harbour Castle Toronto Make sure you have a current passport and meet all requirements for entering the country Learn more at CCIM.COM May | June 2017 17