Developing Offices to Meet the Needs of a Returning Workforce: Bisnow May Digital Event Recap

Developing Offices to Meet the Needs of a Returning Workforce: Bisnow May Digital Event Recap

Martin Selig Real Estate (MSRE) was proud to recently serve as the title sponsor for BisNow’s Seattle Digital Webinar event May 19th, 2021 on “Strategies for Better Development”. The Digital Summit event included opening remarks from MSRE Real Estate Executive Ilich Vahimi on shaping the future of the office for a returning workforce, multiple networking opportunities, and 3 distinct breakout panel discussions on topics relating to creating more valuable assets through interior solutions, CLT, and modular construction. This digital event culminated with a special feature and video walkthrough tour of MSRE’s construction at 3rd & Lenora.

3rd & Lenora is MSRE’s latest new development where you can work, play and live all in one building. Martin Selig Real Estate delivers exceptional buildings, and 3rd & Lenora served as the featured showcase of innovations in holistic living. The virtual tour was hosted by Lisa Stewart, Managing Director with JLL and Michael Brixner, Commercial Real Estate Broker with MSRE. It highlighted some of the following features and amenities of the 3rd & Lenora project

exterior of 3rd & Lenora building in Seattle, WA

  • The building is architecturally shaped like a “Z” to maximize the 360 degree views of the Seattle area. It features sweeping views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains and the downtown waterfront.
  • 10 Foot high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows for an abundance of natural light
  • Retail space on the first floor
  • 10 floors (175,000 square feet) of Class A office space
    • Floors 9-11 have the ability to connect via an interstitial stairwell, perfect for a single tenant. 
    • Office tenants will also have access to an outdoor deck area on the 12th floor.
  • A Residential section of the building (deemed “The Modern”) 
    • 221 apartments that elevate the standard of Seattle living
    • Thoughtful amenities include the 35th floor conservatory (exclusive residence club at top two floors of building); kids play room; fitness center; conference facilities; valet parking; overnight stay suites for guests; WiFi, and more

In his opening event remarks, Ilich Vahimi noted that “our success at MSRE has been driven by the fundamental philosophy that the tenant is always the priority”. He noted that for MSRE, “taking (our) problem-solving philosophy and applying it to today’s real-world hurdles has been challenging, to say the least. But through this pandemic we’ve been able to retain 86% of our tenant portfolio due to our core values as a company.” According to a recent study by The Business Journals, Seattle office space demand index was at 107 in March 2021 compared to 86 in Feb 2020. Office demand has risen 174% year over year and 365% over last quarter. 

With office space demand at a record high and COVID restrictions continuing to loosen in the days and months ahead, the ever-evolving needs of tenants and employees was the subject of a key panel discussion: Developing Offices To Meet The Need Of A Returning Workforce. The panel discussion was presented by The International Well Building Institute, and moderated by Ashley Lippitt, Head of Host Labs at CBRE. Panelists included: Jessica Cooper, Chief Commercial Officer at IBWI (International Well Business Institute); Greg Smith, Founder & CEO of Urban Visions; Jay Phillips, Director of Global Real Estate and Operations at F5 Networks; Jordan Lott, CEO of Lake Washington Partners, and Albert DePlazaola, Global Director of Strategy at Unispace. 

In the panel discussion, Albert DePlazaola noted that “although there is no real silver lining of COVID, it has been an unbelievable change management mechanism or instrument. Before, people on this panel have advocated for flexible work styles and work practices but COVID was a bully that shoved all of us into a remote work pool and asked us to swim. All of a sudden people are not only treading water but doing pretty well. So now people are asking how we can integrate this and normalize it into a new work pattern.” 

As we head into this new phase of office development for a returning workforce, Jessica Cooper of IBWI remarked that a few key questions will determine how we define and fulfill health and wellness. First, what do employees need to feel safe and comfortable to return to work? Factors such as air and water quality management, sanitization and sanitation procedures, availability of PPE (personal protective equipment), the rising importance of third-party certifications as marks of excellence, and more will need to be considered. And secondly what do employees need in the office environment now that they’ve had remote work experience? How do they expect the office and employer to change based on the type of work they want to do upon returning? Those variables may include flexibility in work location and scheduling, connection opportunities to extend office culture, the ability to collaborate, the ability to have space to focus without a distraction-laden home office environment, and more. Greg Smith of Urban Visions noted that there are 57,000 job openings currently in the greater Seattle and Bellevue area. Employees have choices! It’ll be fascinating to see how employee expectations unfold in this new work era, and how employers recruit the talent they need to grow their businesses. 

At MSRE, we think cutting edge, holistic building spaces like the 3rd & Lenora project will be well prepared to meet the challenges and needs of a returning workforce in this post-pandemic work environment. Tom Woodcock, Regional Director of Bay Area and Pacific Northwest at Bisnow, described Martin Selig Real Estate as “legendary developers who have captured and determined the zeitgeist of Seattle development for generations now. Martin and Jordan have contributed extraordinary insights to our (Bisnow) panels over the years.” We were thrilled to partner with Bisnow in this timely digital event as well as provide an update on our Seattle development at Third and Lenora. For more information on upcoming Bisnow events, both in person and digitally, check their Events page. For more information on the 3rd & Lenora project, follow our property page.

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