Getting employees back to the office? That’s challenging today as more office workers continue to push for working from home. And attracting new tenants to existing office buildings? That’s no easy feat, either.
One solution for both companies and building owners? Amenities.
Companies are increasingly looking for higher-quality office buildings with top amenity packages when they move to new space. There are two main reasons for this: As more of their employees work from home at least part of the time, many companies need less square footage. Because they are taking smaller footprints, they can afford more expensive office space that might have been out of their financial reach just two years ago.
Companies also understand that they need to offer modern amenities — such as high-end fitness centers, tech-enabled meeting spaces, on-site food and beverage service — to help persuade often reluctant employees to make the commute to the office.
That’s why Excelsior Group has launched a multi-million-dollar renovation at 7500 Flying Cloud, a 202,000-square-foot Class-A office building in the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie.
The renovations will be complete in the fall of 2023. The building’s owners expect that this work will bring a slate of new tenants to the building, all of which will focus on the new amenities as a way to entice their employees back to the office.
“We know that offering the very best workspaces and tenant amenities is an important factor for companies to develop a thriving and productive workplace,” said Chris Culp, chief executive officer of The Excelsior Group, in a statement. “The significant investments we are making at 7500 Flying Cloud will create unsurpassed tenant experiences.”
The renovation, designed by RSP Architects, will bring new social spaces to the property, including an exclusive club lounge with a bar area, liquor lockers and a golf simulator.
The updates will also include a tech-infused training room and what designers are calling the “war room,” a larger meeting space designed for full-day strategy sessions. These upgrades will complement 7500 Flying Cloud’s existing amenities, including a full-service café and large-scale fitness center.
Brent Karkula, managing director with JLL, and Laura Farrell, senior associate at JLL, are leading the leasing efforts for 7500 Flying Cloud. Both said that the new amenities should help drive up occupancy levels at the building.
“Ownership was at a crossroads with this building,” Karkula said. “It doesn’t feel dated. It doesn’t feel tired. But the ownership group knows what tenants are looking for today. They decided that if they went through with this renovation, they could make this building a best-in-class property. It would be an example of the absolute best quality office building in the Twin Cities market.”
JLL’s latest research shows that office tenants are seeking higher-quality space. Since the beginning of 2020, newly built or renovated Class-A office buildings have accounted for about 39% of the office leases in the Minneapolis market.
Featuring views of both Lake Smetana and Lake Bryant, 7500 Flying Cloud is located steps from the new Southwest Light Rail Transit’s Green Line. The building is also close to retail, hotel, restaurant and service amenities in the Eden Prairie Mall District.
This prime location coupled with its new amenities should make the property an attractive one for tenants looking for a move, Karkula said.
“We meet with a lot of prospective tenants,” Karkula said. “We ask what is important to them. What are they looking for? We’ve been getting a different variation of the same story over and over again: We want to be in a building that our employees want to come to, a commute-worthy building. In today’s world in which companies are giving employees the option of working from home, they want buildings that will inspire employees to get up, get dressed and drive to the office because they like working in the space.”
Farrell is no stranger to how important modern amenities are to office tenants. She is working on leasing efforts at North Loop Green, a transit-oriented development being developed by Hines in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood. The development will feature 350,000 square feet of office space in addition to housing, 17,000 square feet of food and beverage offerings and a 1-acre public green space.
Interest is already high for North Loop Green’s office space because it will be of such a high quality. As with 7500 Flying Cloud Drive, tenants are intrigued by the high-end amenities and workspaces it will offer.
“Finding office space of the highest quality is such an important factor for a lot of tenants and their employees today,” Farrell said. “As we say, you have to earn the commute. That is something that the owners of office buildings understand.”