To fit out or not fit out, that is the question.
It seems incongruous now, but up until recently some people within the office development industry have held the attitude of ‘it will let itself’ provided you nail down the ‘three Ls’: lifts, loos and lobbies.
Today however, and more specifically in the last few years, the office sector has followed the lead of its residential cousin by providing a ‘show suite’ to demonstrate to potential occupiers how the entire space will look. Not only does the office look properly finished, it makes for an altogether more positive viewing experience.
Not that long ago, when promoting office schemes, we might have had some 3D space plans to show a prospective tenant and we all gave ourselves a pat on the back on how life like they looked. Today’s viewing experience, is instead, the real thing.
Funky break-out areas, solid oak wooden floors, domestic kitchens, work benches, art work, indoor plants, immersive technology and feature lighting are all aspects of a fitted show suite that one can typically expect to find in a newly finished office building.
On viewing a new office building a prospective tenant wants to know how they might occupy the space themselves and how creative can they get with their internal fit out. A vanilla palette of new shiny raised floors, white suspended ceilings and flat LED lights does nothing to inspire the soul in the search for a company’s new workplace.
This, of course, is in many ways the office equivalent of what successful retail looks like, namely creating a memorable experience. We have seen great examples of it at schemes such as Blackstone’s Building 7 at Chiswick Park, which includes two different styles of fit out: ‘New York warehouse’ versus ‘corporate cool’.
More recently the newly completed Lantern development, pictured above, in Maidenhead by Berwick Hill Properties has proven to be the epitome of the ‘wow’ experience. Indeed on a recent viewing of the building the occupier whizzed through the reception area in a rush to see the show suite, because ‘that’s when I get really excited’.
Don’t get me wrong, the three Ls still remain of paramount importance, but if you really want to get a potential occupier’s juices flowing major on that show suite. The extra investment will pay big dividends in getting your building occupied.