Conventional Office Buildings in Los Angeles Bring Changes
September 18th, 2013 by Diane Moore
A massive transformation in conventional office buildings
With the changing times, the notion behind the look of a conventional commercial real estate property, especially an office seems to be changing for the better. Corporate America, especially Los Angeles is shedding its conventional image and embracing more compact and cheerful designs. The era when an employee’s status was gauzed by the amount of space he occupied is over now. Employees can now do their job anywhere using laptops and cellphones, which makes an office an exciting place to be in. People now can interact more with increased chance meetings in coffee bars and lounges. This has all been possible by liberating employees from their confined spaces.
This massive transformation in the office culture in Los Angeles, which contains more individuals in relatively lesser space, has given a befitting response to office buildings and additional financial centers in the city. Huge spaces can be seen lying vacant despite the recuperating health of the economy and many companies absorbing new workers.
According to experts in the commercial real estate sector, radical and exhaustive transformations may be required to convert underutilized office spaces into something that is alluring. Only a handful owners were able to take some bold steps so far. However, urban planners and architects are engaged in figuring out a way on how such drastic changes can be accomplished.
Ways of transforming commercial properties
Some efficient ways by which these commercial real estate properties in Los Angeles can be renovated are by the following ways:
- By removing portions of the interior of the office building to develop a theatre or atrium.
- Incorporating attic-like balconies on floors with ceilings that are sky-high.
- Uniting closely the staircases that are located outside.
These measures can more or less drastically change the look of the structure and make it more efficient and alluring.
Renovation of Union Bank Plaza
These transformations in commercial real estate properties will result in them being of more than one use. Architecture firm, Gensler, in a competition of the real estate sector in 2012, recommended that the lower floor of the Union Bank Plaza in Los Angeles, which is comprised of 40 storeys, should be reworked to build classrooms and auditoriums for a school, while the floor above it could be used as a fitness center. The floors on the top could be used as apartments, hotel rooms and a spa. By bringing about this renovation, this building could still have ample space for offices.
The occupancy level of Union Bank Plaza is 100% as it’s filled with office tenants. However, other establishments in Los Angeles, such as US Bank Tower, which happens to be the tallest structure in the West, is always combating problems with endless vacancies.
Views of Jones Lang LaSalle
According to Peter Miscovich, managing director of innovation and strategy and real estate brokerage at Jones Lang LaSalle, major transformations in traditional offices will eventually be required since the conventional workplaces where employees congregate “dressed for success” in custom-made suits following long drives from the outskirts of Los Angeles are slowly on the downfall.
Miscovich says that the 1980’s model of the workplace and the lifestyle seems to be over now. He’s of the opinion that individuals now are no longer thrilled with the idea of travelling to work for a total of 4 hours-to and fro every day. The younger lot, in particular is reluctant to forgo their way of life in order to adopt the old working style.
A change in the making
Many individuals can be seen flocking to cities to live close to their workplaces and leisure centers. Despite the population of Los Angeles ballooning since 2000, the vacancy in offices has persistently remained floating at approximately 20% during the same phase.
The tenants and landlords of commercial real estate properties in the city are forced to cut down their office spaces-as they put in their efforts to rope in high-class workers and use the available space in a productive manner.
Gensler-A speedy transformation
Gensler seems to be a tenant that has taken a quick drop –as it shifted its office in late 2011 in downtown LA after two decades in Santa Monica. A strategy was devised by the company’s architects to transform the commercial property that was an outstanding branch of Bank of America in the past into a future model of a workplace, which was perhaps an illustration of Gensler’s efforts.
The base of the building which was constructed in the 1970s was dismantled by Gensler. This eventually led to the formation of an interior stairway under a new overhead window which was made in the direction of the roof. A fresh mezzanine was also demolished by the firm, transforming a demure property into a three-storied ornate building that hosts various public events in its in-house amphitheatre. Shawn Gehle, design director at Gesnler, said that the new office is the first example of a “hackable building”, which is perhaps a new term that describes the transformation that is brought about.
He says that some amount of domesticity has to be incorporated in the workplace since personal time invades work routinely. Employees love it when the workplace appears a bit like a home. Individuals respond to their business emails on their smartphones and complete projects on iPads while being able to attend their children’s Mini League games.
Changing office look leads to productivity
Comedy writer, Soren Bowie says that there is no fun laboring in a space with just a computer and a chair. The days of partition and isolating walls seem to be over. Employees are able to remain focused at work while still seeing and communicating with colleagues across office spaces that are wide-open. Many individuals are still working amid traditional surroundings. However, a greater number of office cubicles along with big partitions seem to be disappearing.
The biggest reason for employees moving into such creative surroundings is to enhance productivity. Many buildings in Los Angeles are under renovation to provide an exhilarating ambience. However, the supply of larger buildings that are vacant in LA is tapering off and will not be able to cater to the increasing demand for trendy work places as stated by commercial real estate expert, Carl Muhlstein, who is also the managing director at Jones Lang LaSalle.
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