Offices that are functional but bland? They’re no longer good enough. Companies today want to move into modern office space that offers some of the same amenities featured in high-end apartment buildings, everything from fully stocked fitness centers to bike racks and onsite showers.
The reason? Unemployment is low today. To compete for the best talent, companies need to offer office space that is rich in amenities. Otherwise, it’s a challenge to attract and retain the best employees.
Paul Jackson, president and founder of Wichita, Kansas-based commercial real estate company Vantage Point Properties, understands this. It’s why the 315,000-square-foot Class-A Reflections at City Center office complex Vantage Point Properties is developing in Lenexa, Kansas, will feature shimmering reflection pools, a walkable campus and 19,500 square feet of restaurant space on three separate restaurant sites.
Jackson says that without the amenities, there’d be little to separate his company’s office development from so many others on the market.
“We believe that the amenities are very important,” Jackson said. “There is a certain feeling or vibe you get when you visit an office. It tells you a lot about a company and its values. With unemployment as low as it is, young professionals have a choice. They want to work with a company that is willing to invest in its workforce versus one that views its workforce as a commodity.”
Vantage Point Properties recently purchased a 32-acre tract of land at 9300 Renner Blvd. in the Lenexa City Center mixed-use development, a development that is serving as a new type of downtown for the Kansas city.
The company is ready to break ground as soon as an anchor tenant is identified. It has already secured tax increment financing, approved by the Lenexa City Council, to lessen the costs of developing the site.
Colliers International’s Matt Stover and Tracy Wilson are marketing the property for lease.
Jackson said that the goal with Reflections at City Center is to create a creative and collaborative space for companies and their employees. The development will have patio spaces, balconies, walking paths and plenty of natural light.
The natural setting will be important, too. The development will feature reflecting pools, the pools that give it its name. Jackson says that these outdoor spaces will give employees the chance to relax, recharge and get in plenty of walking.
“Talent wants to be valued,” Jackson said. “The more a company can show that, the better chance it has of bringing in the best people and retaining them.”
Building a project like Reflections at City Center takes more work, upfront money and planning than does putting up a traditional office building. But Jackson says that the extra work is worth it.
“We are absolutely not just building office space in this project,” Jackson said. “We approached this as if our job was to create an environment that is special, that is going to invite companies to look at our project versus whatever is competing with us. We want to attract companies to our project. That takes more work, more thought and more money on the front end.”
It will take time for Reflections at City Center to rise. Jackson said that once Vantage Point Properties attracts the first anchor tenant to the development, it will start construction on the first building and the reflecting pools. It will take about two years to get that first building open once construction begins, he said.
Vantage Point Properties is working with Colliers International now to develop marketing materials for Reflections at City Center. The office market in the region is strong, though, so Jackson says that he is confident the project will soon draw an anchor tenant.
“We like the Lenexa City Center location. There is so much momentum for all kindss of development here, whether it’s restaurant, multifamily or office,” Jackson said. “There is so much that this development can bring. We think that our office development will be a really nice complement to the rest of what is happening here.”