I recently got an inside look at how one of the Washington region’s commercial brokerage teams gets some of its biggest lease deals done, even when a tenant has some unusual or tricky demands.
Ben Plaisted and Greg Scheipers, respectively the executive managing director and corporate managing director at Savills Studley, filled me in on some of their most challenging situations, and how they turned things around.
In especially high demand among D.C.-area tenants is private outdoor space, something they can use for entertaining clients or just enjoying lunch outside. Such an option is apparently much easier to find in certain areas than others in the District.
Scheipers: "The Center for Democracy and Technology, a D.C.-based nonprofit, worked with [our team] and the landlord of their new space to convert a former retail space from below it into a private outdoor space for their exclusive usage. Private outdoor space is in demand in D.C. but is more commonly acquired by larger businesses and law firms. This one was a first for a nonprofit here."
Tenants also want their employees bathed in plentiful natural sunlight while at the office. It’s not just a pretty perk, but the natural rays actually help keep people feeling more awake and energized. Unfortunately, D.C. still has a lot of older buildings where windows are scarce, or where the floor plates are so deep, most workers wouldn’t even see the windows from their desks.
Plaisted: "[We] identify corner buildings with smaller floor plates, but also working with tenants. Then we go through a process to determine the right ratio between open (cubicles, collaborative) vs. private space. Putting workstations or shared space along the window line and offices on the interior allows for equitable access to natural light. If you plan in advance, you can design the space so that you can adjust the ratio between open and private in the future, without incurring significant additional costs."
Columns — they’re one of the oldest architectural features still in existence, and can be both decorative and highly functional. But sometimes, columns are just in the way...D.C. tenants can have some tall orders. This is how one brokerage firm handled them.
Related Stories2016 Savills Effective Rent Index
National Office Sector Report (Q2 2016)