In doing some research for a recently published post about the midterm election’s impact on the economy and corporate real estate, I came across some fascinating information about the evolving life needs and desires of today’s workforce.
Given the hopeful assumption the economy is showing signs of recovery (based on recent indicators of consecutive months of profitability, stock market gains and increases in consumer spending) it may mean that companies will begin hiring new employees.
In order to be competitive to retain and recruit top talent, companies would be wise to respond to the new dynamics employees are interested to find in the organizations in which they work. Office environments that incorporate highly productive work spaces located in close proximity to amenities that cater to the quality of life of the individual. Amenities such as healthy eating choices, recreational wellness centers/health clubs, residential developments, and convenient retail offerings all located within walk-able proximity vs. car-dependent locations.
In this way, corporate tenants in office parks and urban developments can take on the role as ‘anchor retailers in a mall’ where they could seed mixed use, ‘towne centre style’ developments. These collections of newly developed corporate office buildings or renovated urban settings could generate lifestyle-related development critical to attracting highly desirable employees. Expanding companies can offer communities the impetus to trigger growth and development while creating workplaces on trend with the “office of the future.”
This type of development would create the traditional ‘win-win-win’ scenarios of: a win for the company in creating employee-friendly environments to retain/attract top talent where productivity is fostered; a win for the employee who can satisfy their desire for live/work/play areas in close proximity with one another; and, wins for communities starving for the revenue that comes from stimulating new development or revitalizing existing areas.
The key to making this type of development and ‘engine of growth’ a success is the collaboration of all relevant stakeholders. The lack of investment capital to fund projects for a commercial developer that can bring together all of the components may not exist just yet but, through private/public collaboration of office developers, retailers, commercial developers, and public officials (to provide monies for the infrastructure and assistance to qualified companies) the private sector companies could play an pivotal role to trigger self sustaining economic and community growth.
Progressive CRE professionals could serve as their company’s representative in ‘towne centre’ development and leverage the amenities being created by other entities. One example might be a company who wants to develop a health club for their employees may reach out to existing providers who might be interested in locating a facility in near proximity to their location.
The axiom in economic development is that every private sector manufacturing, technology or services related job can create 4-5 additional jobs in the retail/restaurant industry. This would mean that collaborative developments could become the platform for meaningful growth and vitality in urban districts and communities.
But, it starts with a company who has the vision and desire to take its place in a community and be the ‘engine of growth.’
What are your thoughts about how corporate real estate’s role in stimulating economic growth?