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How will COVID-19 impact the work environment?

The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the way we work. Many are still working from home and Zoom calls are the new meeting standard. Although we are learning to interact in this way, it’s a poor substitute for an in-person meeting. The conversation just doesn’t flow as well. That being said…most of us have gotten used to it and it has become the “new normal”. Are you sick of that expression yet?


Two recent articles published on the on-line Real Estate News Exchange talks about the Top-6 Ways the workplace is changing post-COVID-19. Their thoughts on this include:

  1. Communications technology will get better – and fast
  2. Employees will want to continue working from home, but only for part of the week
  3. The physical office will still have its place, albeit with a few modifications
  4. Buildings will focus more on health and wellness
  5. The workplace itself is likely to change dramatically
  6. Amenities within buildings will also likely change

One of the passages that really resonated with me related to office space use. The article said “Thirty years of workplace densification is likely to reverse course, to some degree.” and went on to say…

Today, most companies offer either a dedicated (assigned offices/workstations) or agile (unassigned seating) environment.

We may very well see the introduction of “semi-assigned” seating that will have small groups with compatible hybrid work schedules sharing private offices with colleagues with whom they are comfortable. This solution could be the balance of cost-efficiency and the productivity benefits of a dedicated, private workspace.

While there will be a greater demand for individual workspaces and potential shifts in workplace accommodation, the role of collaborative spaces in the office environment will not only stay intact but become more integral.

Read the entire two articles PART I and PART II

I know this is not an easy period we are weathering. Please use me as a resource for any questions or concerns you may have about the commercial real estate market. If/when you are ready to look at properties, please know that we have COVID protocols in place to keep you safe and for contract tracing should the need arise. In the meantime, ask about what we can do virtually!

LEASED – 1000 Sandy Point Road

1000 Sandy Point Road, Unit 4, Saint John, New Brunswick

Cooke Insurance identified a need for new office space back in the fall of 2019. Although they didn’t plan to move in until summer 2020, they wasted no time in starting their search. Through a process of elimination they landed on 1000 Sandy Point Road. This commercial strip mall was newly constructed and the ground floor unit they chose had never been occupied. “Being able to customize the space to exactly our needs helps make the square footage work for us in the most efficient way possible” says Jeff Cooke.

“We are thrilled with the space. We got everything on our wish list and more” says local Cooke representative Andrea Ferris. “The landlord was amazing to work with. The level of finishes are class A.”

1000 Sandy Point Road is a multi-unit commercial strip mall located in Millidgeville next to Cedarcrest Gardens. The Saint John Real Estate Board also leases office space in the development. 2,000 sq ft of ground floor space remains available.


GALLERY  – PHOTOS OF FINISHED SPACE

Stephanie Turner represented the Tenant (Cooke Insurance) and Peter Pappas (owner and licensed Realtor® with Re/Max) acted as the Listing Agent. 

Hub International now at corner of King and Germain

77 Germain Street (a.k.a 40 King Street), Saint John

In December of 2017 Hub International were approached by a local business about selling their property on Duke Street Uptown. This created a great opportunity for them to upgrade their location and stay in the Uptown Saint John core.   Hub International Atlantic is a division of Canada’s largest insurance broker,  and specializes in Commercial Insurance, Group Benefits, and Personal Insurance.  According to Neil Josselyn “Our Saint John location has 15+ employees, and we represent every major insurance company in Canada.” Josselyn further explained  “Our team had outgrown our Duke Street location, however we wanted to stay Uptown, and toured a  number of different options.  We decided that the sub-let opportunity on the 5th floor at the corner of King and Germain was the perfect location for us to call our new home.” Locals will know this building as home to many of Saint John’s local economic development agencies including Enterprise Saint John and the Chamber of Commerce.

The top priority in a new space was to get all of their staff on one level, while working in an open concept office environment.   This space on Germain Street  offered this and more.  The space has a modern kitchen, a recently redone office with up-to-date I.T. infrastructure.  However it maintained exposed brick walls and the radiators from the building’s past.  Josselyn went on to say “The location is incredible, offering views of both King Square and Saint John Harbour, all while being across the street from the City Market, and pedway system.”

Stephanie Turner was the listing agent and also acted as Hub International’s local Tenant Representative in negotiating the sub-lease.

Brunswick House has a new chiller!

The existing chiller was “1960’s vintage so it was time to replace it”. This was no small job. Congrats to all involved and great work by Hemmings House Production for capturing this feat of engineering on video. Includes some cool drone footage!

“Time lapse and aerial film showing set up of a 400 ton mobile crane over weekend of April 17-19, 2015 at Brunswick House, Saint John, NB. The lift of a 13,000 lb chiller to the roof of this 14 story office building was flawless.” Source: YouTube, Commercial Properties Limited

Screenshot 2015-05-20 21.02.58   Screenshot 2015-05-20 21.02.09

Watch the Hemmings House Video THE BIG LIFT HERE

For more information on Brunswick House Click HERE

How do tenants decide which building to take space in?

Price per square foot is a key factor but the financials are often very competitive. The decision to lease in one building versus another is often swayed by physical attributes.

Suite 101, 14 King Street. 1,842 s.f. office.

Tenants want to feel comfortable that the building they are moving to is going to be an asset to their company and that prospective employees will see it as an attractive place to work.  The three key elements are:

  1. Amenities: The “walkability” of our uptown created by the internal pedway system means that most of the amenities that tenants want are nearby.
  2. Aesthetics: Saint John’s inventory of heritage buildings offer the character that many people crave such as high ceilings and exposed brick & beams. “Historic buildings have a unique appeal that new buildings cannot duplicate {on the flip side} new buildings have the long-span, light-filled, flexible footprints and modern common-area finishes that are so attractive. Many buildings built from 1960 to 1990 are caught in-between, and if they remain un-renovated, often feel trapped in time.”
  3. Sustainability.  Only a few of buildings in Saint John are LEED certified.

Read more about what tenants want and the benefits of LEED certified buildings HERE via www.high-profile.com

This is interesting…a visual history of office space

…a brief history of how seating arrangements have reflected our changing attitudes towards work.

office-space

 

NOTE: This is only one section of the original infographic. To view the original in it’s entirety click HERE

 

Open concept or privates offices?

Are you questioning your open concept office? Are you wondering what the “experts” say on the topic?

A recent article on www.bbc.com called “The victims of open offices are pushing back” stated the following:

“Many people are growing frustrated with the din and distractions of the modern office, where they sit at crowded desks or tables without any physical barriers separating them from their neighbours.”

“The world has put all the focus on collaboration with people thrown in a big room together, but you have to be more thoughtful than that,” said Martha Clarkson, Microsoft’s global workplace strategist. “When you put people in a communal environment, it won’t work if you don’t provide privacy. They need alternative spaces for thinking time, whether it’s focus rooms, lounges, patios or outside walking areas.”

Read the entire article here >>> http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20140911-open-office-victims-push-back

Looking for ideas for creative meeting rooms?

beach-hut-meeting

Image of “Beach Hut” Meeting Room via Atlantic Business Interiors www.atlanticbusinessinteriors.com