Bisnow NYC Office & Workplace of the Future

Happy #WellTailoredWednesday! I recently went to an event in Brooklyn about the future of the workplace, sponsored by Bisnow. Since I work in commercial real estate tech, I try to attend one of these events at least once a quarter. This one was at 175 Pearl Street in Brooklyn. Overall, I would give the event a rating of 2/5. I had some takeaways for each panel and here are my thoughts:

Garment District Alliance Fireside Chat

Eric Gural – Co-CEO and Principal – GFP Real Estate

Barbara Blair – President – Garment District Alliance

  • The Garment District has a colorful history and used to be called the “Devils Arcade”
  • The average starting rents in the District ($155/SqFt) are incredibly low. Rents around Penn Station are $357/SqFt and in Times Square around $387/SqFt
  • Millennials are expanding into the area as the number of food and rooftop bar options are increasing. Eric Gural commented, “The good thing about restaurants and bars in an area is that if you have a good day, you want to drink…and if you have a bad day, you want to drink.”

Design, Construction & Workplace Strategy

Design, Construction & Workplace Strategy

Ryan Simonetti – Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer – Convene

Rachel Casanova – Senior Managing Director, Workplace Innovation – Cushman & Wakefield

David Weinberg – Principal – ZGF Architects

Joe Rigazio – CEO – Talisen Construction Corporation

John Dulin – VP, Market Development & Real Estate – Corning Optical Communications

MODERATOR Dodie Williams – Director of Project Management – Macro Consultants

  • The real knowledge of a workplace comes after the workplace is built. Currently, there’s no feedback loop from the tenants back to the architects, but there needs to be
  • We cannot think of “design” as just a product anymore. Instead, we need to think about it as a service and we need to incorporate it in our world of architectural design as a whole
  • Despite all the generational differences in the workplace, we need to think back to how we are more alike than we are different. We all want the same thing: human to human experience, choice, and a sense of belonging and community

All About the Tenants: Talent, Trends, Amenities & More

Workplace - All About Tenants

Susana Balbes Pazos – Head of Real Estate for Americas – L’Oréal

Paul Teti – Partner – Normandy Real Estate Partners

Eugene Lee – Chief Investment Officer – Knotel

Rachel Walters – Sr. Market Development Manager – Join

Bryan Murphy – CEO – Breather

MODERATOR Marc Schwartzberg – CEO/Owner – Office Furniture Heaven

  • In general, the market is very tenant friendly and landlords need to take notice
  • This panel disappointed me. All the panelists’ answers sounded more like a pitch for each company (“Knotel is great because we do ____” or “Join helps tenants because ____”, etc.)
  • There was so much redundancy on why flexibility is important and how workplace as a flexible service is starting to take over the world. Yes, at this point of the panel we get it.
  • There were multiple opinions on what would happen to co-working and flexible office space during an economic downturn. Most people said that companies are going more to want to be more flexibility, but there were also some contrasting opinions
    • Marc Schwartzberg: Tenants will want to hunker down to a more permanent space and not pay the rent premiums that flexible spaces/coworking firms command.
    • Paul Teti: To accommodate for the needs of large and small tenants, landlords will need to be flexible in the way they offer space.
    • Susana Balbes Pazos: Tenants will demand flexibility and will need landlords to compromise.

All About the Landlords: Investment, Development, & Leasing

Workplace - All About Landlords

Jonathan Lee Cohen – Head of Acquisitions – RFR Holding

Chris Shehadeh – Senior Managing Director, Regional Director New York – Tishman Speyer

Gerard Norcia – Executive Director – JP Morgan Asset Management

Paul Gillen – Managing Director / Regional COO – Hodges Ward Elliott

Kevin Chin – VP, Securities & Head of Corporate Development – The Guarantors

MODERATOR Ryan Blair – Managing Director – Stanwich Energy Advisors

  • Tenants are now increasingly focused on amenities, employee happiness, and having a cafeteria. They’re also willing to outsource, focused on wellness, and are more communal
  • Investor underwriting has evolved to be more conservative, allowing for a diverse tenant base, and the increasing trend of landlords providing amenities
  • Investors need to be careful not be careless because there’s a lot of debt and equity capital willing to be deployed
  • Paul Gillen: The intersection of office, retail, and residential classes will be an opportunity for older buildings looking to get with the times
  • This was easily the worst panel of the event. The moderator just asked some very basic questions such as “How do new projects impact a market?” and “How can landlords capitalize on the changes to the market?”
  • I asked a question on the future technologies they are most excited for and the answers were quite underwhelming:
    • Autonomous vehicles
    • New Jersey becoming more appealing with new legislation
    • Isolated investments on the life sciences side
  • Tenants want better interspace modular design and responsiveness to tenant needs

Thanks for reading and please let me know what you think in the Comments’ section below!