Following a successful remake at Oak Lawn landmark The Centrum, Quadrant Investment Properties is turning its attention, once again, to a renovation at downtown’s Saint Paul Place. A multi-million renovation includes bringing a co-working company to the office, utilizing technology to streamline management and services, and repositioning the lobby.
After a three-year, $25 million renovation at The Centrum, international investor Oaktree Capital Group bought the tower along with the adjacent 13-story Hall Street at The Centrum in June. Not only did the sale give QIP the time and cash flow to focus on a new project, QIP Founder Chad Cook says it proved his team’s theory on what tenants want.
The renovation at Saint Paul is only a microcosm for how Quadrant plans to “change the way offices are leased,” Cook says. “We sensed that if you could curate the environment, it creates the common areas … the community. Our brand [at Quadrant] is pretty much solely focused on that. How do we create that sense of community?”
Enter CENTRL Office, a Portland, Oregon-based co-working concept founded by two former real estate executives. “We saw demand from smaller, satellite companies who were having trouble coming together. We were having trouble accommodating those tenants in their smaller leases—so we put our own spin on it,” CENTRL Co-Founder Jeff Arthur says. CENTRL has three locations in Portland. It’s 23,000-square-foot lease at Saint Paul Place will be its first location outside its hometown when renovations are completed by year’s end.
CENTRL will have private offices, open desks, event space, and meeting rooms in its second- and third-floor space, which will encompass what’s currently a tenant lounge. By bringing in CENTRL, Cook thinks the two firms—CENTRL and QIP—will work together and scale together. “We’ve integrated them into the ownership structure, as opposed to a traditional lease,” Cook says. “If all goes well, we’ll push them up to another floor later on … because our interests are already in alignment.”
The Saint Paul upgrade comes about over a year after the initial renovation of the 273,000-square-foot office. Earlier this year, Saint Paul leasing agents when on a leasing run with about 33,000 square feet of new deals including leases from Bestow Inc., Velo IT Group, Copperbeck Energy Partners LLC. (D Magazine Partners occupies the top two floors of the tower.)
The remake will also leverage technology from Quadrant’s D’Arcy Young called Honeycomb. The tenant engagement platform aims to streamline building communications and services. Honeycomb could be a “one-stop-shop” for everything from maintenance requests and viewing the daily special in the lobby café to eventually accessing health insurance and completing lease paperwork.
The ground floor café will also be repositioned to be more upscale in hopes of attracting more activity throughout the day and evening. Currently, the café closes at 2pm. The remake will likely include beer and wine offerings.
“We’re trying to change the way that offices are leased. The industry hasn’t changed in 50 years and this is a real estate town,” Cook says. “If the only option you’re offering your tenants is to work at their desks, you’re falling behind.”
Renovations at Saint Paul will begin shortly after QIP selects a general contractor later this month and wrap up by the end of 2018. Assuming the remake is successful, Quadrant will look to scale to other properties.