The National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP) has published a new piece from our David Pugh focused on Strategically Repurposing Common Spaces in Office Buildings with new ideas from the education, healthcare and retail sectors. As the piece notes, “An exciting shift is currently occurring in office buildings across North America. Owners, developers and designers are rejuvenating older buildings by rethinking the traditional concept of common spaces. Lobbies and public areas originally designed to function solely as entries and security checkpoints are becoming hospitality-infused destinations. Spaces previously active only at key moments during the day – arrival, lunch, departure – are now “places to be” all day long, with food service, retail offerings, group seating, art installations, concierge service and more.”

Throughout David’s article online, he points to examples from other industries that can strengthen this shift. Here’s a key excerpt:

Retail’s influence on office space
The world of retail has been upended in recent years, as e-commerce has made it simple to shop from home. In an effort to bring people back into brick-and-mortar stores, shopping center owners and retailers are reimagining the experiences created within the shopping environment, transforming stores and malls into destinations that celebrate brands and encourage social interaction.

Shopping malls throughout North America are rethinking their under-utilized open spaces and departing from tradition to create destinations that attract visitors for the experience as much as for the shopping.

  • Chesterfield Town Center

    The redesigned Chesterfield Towne Center in the Richmond, Virginia, area has transformed a seldom-used central zone into a comfortable seating and gathering area inspired by a local state park. The central indoor fire pit at Chesterfield serves as a focal point for people as they meet and socialize.

  • The Yeti flagship store in Austin, Texas, is another prime example of this shift. While shoppers can buy Yeti coolers at many retail locations, the flagship store incorporates a bar into the retail experience, as well as porch concerts, film screenings and other monthly events. This type of cultural interaction strengthens the experience surrounding the brand and creates a location that people want to visit.
  • In Chicago, Restoration Hardware’s new home furnishings retail destination is equal parts store, museum, art gallery, library, courtyard and culinary destination. Housed in the former Three Arts Club of Chicago, the store blends residential, retail and hospitality ideas to create a place where visitors can shop, dine, sightsee, meet with friends or relax. (For more on retail flagship trends, see “How Retail Flagships Lead the Fleet,”Development, summer 2017.)

Office buildings are dealing with a similar challenge. As technology makes it easier for employees to work from any location, owners and employers are drawing people into their office buildings by adapting their spaces to foster interaction and reinforce collaboration and culture.

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