Bill Cawley: New Trends in Office Development

Bill Cawley
Bill Cawley

Every market cycle brings changes in office development. A few years ago, LEED-certified buildings were the hot new approach; today it is the norm. The last few years have also shown a shift in the priorities of office tenants. The willingness of employees to make a long commute from home to the office has significantly declined. Many companies are now looking for an office location that provides a live-work-play lifestyle.

In Dallas, the Uptown, Preston Center, Addison Circle and Legacy markets have thrived in the past few years, creating development activity in the Legacy West Plano Village, Preston Center, and Uptown areas, which offer living, shopping, restaurants, and office buildings all within walking distance.

Along with the live-work-play environment, most tenants today are seeking space that provides easy access to public transportation. This helps their employees who choose not to live near the office have an easier commute.  High-quality surrounding amenities help them provide the best possible work environment.

The market that’s currently seeing the most activity is Legacy West Plano, with five office projects announced or about to be announced that will add approximately 1.4 million square feet in the next 24 months. Most are quoting rental rates at of at least $34 per square foot, plus electricity. One of the five is Legacy Center, a Cawley Partners project. We’re developing the 150,000-square-foot, four-story, LEED-designed building to provide efficient office space with a 5/1,000 parking ratio and leasing rates below the current market rents. All of this activity just reinforces the demand for live-work-play space.

As we get into the next cycle, businesses and office developments will start to reflect a more fitness-conscious, social media atmosphere, with stand-up desks, more relaxed dress codes, and Wi-Fi throughout. Many companies feel this kind of environment is essential for long-term employee retention. It’s exciting to see progressive companies continue to set standards that will become the future’s new norm.