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Digital Tools Increasingly Vital to Success of Construction Projects

Originally published on April 26, 2021 by Linda Strowbridge for NAIOP E-Newsletter.

Despite its traditional roots, construction has started to transform into a digital industry. Building information modeling, geospatial technologies, prefabrication and modular construction, drone services, augmented-reality wearables and other technologies are increasingly becoming a larger and more crucial part of successful, efficient, profitable construction projects.

“An Overview of Emerging Construction Technologies,” a NAIOP Research Foundation report, details the recent advances and new horizons in construction technology. Authors Andrew McCoy, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Building Construction at Virginia Tech, and Armin Yeganeh, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech, talked to NAIOP about what these technology advances mean for construction firms and commercial real estate companies.

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How Custom Workplace Design can Improve Employee Health and Wellness

Originally published on April 13, 2021, by Roger Heerema and Dan Elkins for NAIOP.

Effective workplace design has never been about simply making an office look nice; it’s about supporting and inspiring those who will move within and around it. Now, a historic pandemic is highlighting a new opportunity for flourishing companies whose space needs have changed: To invest in build- or redevelop-to-suit design projects that enable them to manage the health and wellness aspects of their space – during a time when both are paramount.

The ability to choose building specifications inherently gives companies greater control over features like advanced air circulation and touchless doors. By investing in these and other health and wellness elements, companies can help meet long-term disease containment goals as well as show they value their employees.

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Measuring the Impact of Smart Building Technology Investments

Originally published by Marta Soncodi for NAIOP's Spring 2021 Issue.

A new ratings system quantifies how effective they are across several important criteria. 

Investing in smart building technology may not be seen as a priority after commercial real estate investments were hit especially hard in 2020. However, if improving tenant experience was being considered before the pandemic, it’s now an imperative.

Why should commercial real estate owners consider investing in smart building technology upgrades? Based on research and industry analysis, fully integrated smart systems can increase building efficiency, optimize facility operations, improve occupant safety, security and wellbeing, and enhance end-user preferences. And, in light of the pandemic, stakeholders — commercial real estate companies, building owners, managers, and tenants — should examine the competitive advantages of smart building technology. 

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A New Life for an Old Department Store

Originally published by Brent Carroll for NAIOP's Spring 2021 Issue.

An adaptive reuse project revitalizes an iconic retail tower in Portland, Oregon.

For residents of a certain age in Portland, Oregon, the phrase “meet me under the clock” meant the clock on the main floor of the Meier & Frank department store, which first opened nearly 150 years ago. The 16-story terracotta landmark building at 555 Southwest Morrison Street encompasses an entire city block near Pioneer Courthouse Square, widely known as “Portland’s living room.”

In November 2016, a new era for the Meier & Frank Building began when KBS purchased the asset for $54 million in a joint venture with private development firm Sterling Bay with the intent of repositioning the property. Converting part of a beloved former department store into a fully leased Class A mixed-use space while preserving the historical integrity of the original property required hard work as well as some creative problem-solving. 

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A New Asset Class: The Future Hybrid Store

Originally published on April 9, 2021 by Brielle Scott for NAIOP Blog.

The disruption caused by COVID-19 has accelerated the blending of brick-and-mortar retail and logistics real estate. This has resulted in the emergence of a new hybrid store model – one that takes omnichannel strategies to the next level and promises to revolutionize the retail, industrial and logistics industries. 

In a recent NAIOP webinar, John Morris, head of industrial and retail, CBRE, and Andres Rodriquez, senior research analyst, CBRE, shared their vision for a hybrid store that preserves the store experience for physical shopping while leveraging logistics capabilities for the fulfillment of online sales. 

Rodriquez started the discussion by sharing some historical data. According to data between 2010-2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, online retail sales were growing about 16% per year, while in-store retail sales were growing about 3% per year. In response to that, retailers had been focusing heavily on rolling out their online platforms to meet consumer demand. 

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How Has COVID-19 Accelerated Dining Trends?

Originally published by Gary Tasman on March 30, 2021, for NAIOP.com.

If nothing else, 2020 taught us that we can all adapt to changing conditions and learn how to navigate through radical shifts in how we function day-to-day. This is the case not only for individuals and families but also for businesses. Millions of business owners and managers were forced to radically reinvent their business models to remain solvent during the COVID-19 crisis. This is especially true of the restaurant industry, which is rapidly accelerating new and pre-existing trends.

Stay-at-home regulations, social distancing, and public apprehension have forced restaurants to shift their models significantly to focus on delivery and carry-out to stay profitable. Fortunately for many establishments, this quick-service restaurant trend had already emerged pre-pandemic. Restaurants that had already embraced this shift were better positioned to weather the storm produced by COVID-19.

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Apply for NAIOP’s National Forums Program

The National Forums program brings together industry professionals in select groups to share industry knowledge, develop successful business strategies and build strong relationships in a confidential and non-competitive setting. Learn more about this unique opportunity and apply for appointment today. 

The Forums provide a unique opportunity for members to openly discuss project challenges, business opportunities and lessons-learned in a confidential and non-competitive setting. Over time, fellow members become a trusted circle of advisors.

The National Forums are an excellent way to become involved, stay in touch and develop new connections with key industry leaders.

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10 Renovations to Consider Before Reopening the Office

Originally published on June 3, 2020 by Clay Edwards

As offices are set to reopen across the country over the next few months, many companies are considering all their options to make the workplace as safe and healthy as possible for returning employees. Companies will need to do more than put hand sanitizer dispensers everywhere and rearrange desks to put employees’ minds at ease.

Regardless of whether your company is heading back into the office ASAP or still managing a remote workforce, there’s still time to make updates with no or little disruption. At Skender, we’re actively collaborating with our clients to modify density and employee circulation to meet social distancing guidelines, and we’re seeing installations and renovations of all sizes. Here are 10 office updates that we’re recommending to support a healthy return to work...

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Activating Public Spaces Can Attract Users, Create Community

Posted on July 26, 2019

By Angelo Carusi

A Nashville-area mixed-use development illustrates the uplifting potential of landscape architecture.

Mixed-use developers are devoting premium real estate to outdoor public spaces that invite the community to linger. These communal areas are continually being repurposed and reimagined through bold and creative design strategies.

The design for dynamic, open-air gathering spaces can be as important as the design for revenue-generating real estate products. Physical spaces that promote dwell time are increasingly appreciated by tenants and end users. Outdoor “rooms” where people pause to sit with a cup of coffee, watch their children play, respond to emails and texts or enjoy casual conversations are spaces where life, community, architecture and nature come together, allowing for meaningful experiences that encourage people to return to the property.

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The Workplace Makeover: From Office to Destination

Posted July 8, 2019

By Diane Hoskins and Andy Cohen

To lure top talent, employers must integrate technology and unique experiences into their spaces.

The future of cities is predicated on people. As engines of economic growth, urban areas are the life source of the built environment, with 80 percent of global GDP resulting from their output. The most vibrant cities are those that attract diverse talent with varied skills, perspectives and backgrounds. All of this is driving change and transformation in how people live, work and play.

Looking at the built environment, there is no place that is being more profoundly impacted than the workplace. To retain and inspire the best talent, the most successful organizations will be the ones that adapt their workplace strategies to focus on creating a destination with visceral experiences, an “always in beta approach” and purpose through space.

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Designing Spaces to Create Great Experiences

Posted on December 12, 2018

By Andy Cohen

A Gensler study quantifies that the right design can result in great experiences, which in turn are great for business.

Today, the goal of every project that forward-thinking architects design is to give people positive experiences. Clients in every sector, including commercial real estate, are struggling to keep up with the dramatidec evolution of how people work, live and shop today – and those who aren’t are sacrificing business performance. To better understand – and to quantify – the link between design and delivery of a great experience, Gensler developed the Gensler Experience Index, a first-of-its-kind mixed-methods research approach to create a holistic Experience Framework for understanding experience and quantifying the effect of design on that experience.

The Gensler Experience Index is the result of a rigorous investigation that combined qualitative ethnographic research with quantitative research to identify the design factors that are most important in creating exceptionally great spaces and places. After several years, five roundtables, 60+ hours of one-on-one ethnographic observations and a survey of more than 4,000 consumers, the Gensler Experience Index  quantifies and brings greater depth to what many in the design industry already knew instinctively – that great design is an important component of great experiences.

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Elevating Workplace Architecture and Design

Posted on June 7, 2018

By Marie Ruff

Office architecture and design have incorporated various popular influences in recent years: smart office tools, the open-ceiling industrial-chic aesthetic, and the “experiential office” trend, to name a few. The field has been slower, however, to adopt findings from positive psychology into office form and function.

Positive psychology, the scientific study of the condition and strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive, provides tools that can be used to enhance worker’s well-being, said architect Charles First, AIA, CCM, CFM. In his recently published book, “A Place to be Happy: Linking Architecture & Positive Psychology,” First drew from his more than 30 years as a registered architect with experience in architecture, project management and owner-side office culture.  The book incorporates results from his own workplace studies, and along with findings from researchers across the U.S., establishes criteria for shaping spaces for the benefit of the people who work there.

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Best Practices in Developing Skilled Nursing Facilities

Posted on April 16, 2018

By: Greg Lazaroff

Photos courtesy of Michael Adkins, PHCM Construction Inc.An Ohio-based developer of these specialized properties describes how it is capitalizing on growing opportunities as well as evolving market trends.

AN AGING POPULATION and medical advances that are extending the average person’s life expectancy are increasing the need for skilled nursing facilities. Developers are responding by gearing up to build more of these projects to meet the expected need. One such company, Premier Health Care Management, a Cincinnati-based nursing home developer and operator, plans to double in size in the next three years by expanding its total number of beds from 700 to 1,200 through building renovation, expansion and ground-up construction.

Premier’s in-house architectural team, PHCM Construction Inc., is currently working on five nursing home development projects with a combined construction value near $100 million. All are geared toward capitalizing on market trends that include residents’ desire for private rooms and more amenities. These trends, along with variables such as site conditions, occupancy codes and availability of financing, are among the primary challenges faced by most senior living development projects.

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Does Your Modern Build-out Have a Hearing Problem?

Posted on April 13, 2018

By: Clay Edwards

Open ceilings, exposed concrete floors and glass-walled spaces are the hallmarks of contemporary interiors. These design choices convey a hip and modern mindset for the companies and retailers that inhabit them, but they can come with a drawback that impacts business: noise.

Without the sound-dampening effects of the acoustical tiles used in drop ceilings and wall-to-wall carpeting and other soft surfaces, ambient noises such as conversations, whirring heating and cooling systems, and shifting furniture are amplified. And plans to mitigate this heightened noise can add extra materials, labor costs and time to your build-out.

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The Rise of Smart Buildings As-a-Service

Posted on February 28, 2018

A recent Memoori report, Occupancy Analytics & In-Building Location Based Services 2017 to 2022, finds “value-added services such as space utilization, indoor positioning, connected lighting and asset tracking are helping to drive the adoption of As-a-Service business models.”

Smart Building As-a-Service refers to third-party companies working with building owners to deploy technology to maximize efficiency and use data-driven analytics to understand better how people operate within the building. For example, if building owners and managers subscribed to a sensing-as-a-service firm, the firm would be responsible for not only installing the equipment but also managing, analyzing and reporting the data the sensors collect.

Artful Landscape Design for Stormwater Management

Posted on February 23, 2018

By: Brian L. Reetz, and Emilie C. Carter, PLA, ASLA

Jennifer Hughes PhotographyTHE METROPOLITAN Downtown Columbia, one element in the master plan for Downtown Columbia, Maryland, is the first new mixed-use, multifamily project to be developed in the area, which eventually will incorporate a vibrant, walkable downtown that will complement what was formerly an inward-focused mall. Developed by Kettler, the six-story, 375-unit apartment building features ground-floor retail space that faces a 0.82-acre promenade.

While the primary goal for the landscape architects designing this promenade was to create an appealing open space, they faced several additional requirements and challenges, including the need to integrate a public art component, fulfill county requirements for a playground area and comply with state stormwater regulations. The design for the promenade, which was completed in summer 2015, incorporated an integrated micro-bioretention system, educational and interpretive signage, and abstract play sculptures. The result is an iconic open space lined by shops and restaurants that connects Downtown Columbia, the mall and the surrounding community. The roughly $1 million promenade also offers some valuable lessons for landscape architects and developers.

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The Hidden Costs of Open Ceilings

Posted on February 22, 2018

By: Clay Edwards

Open ceilings, with their exposed ductwork and industrial vibe have become popular – but trendy rarely equals inexpensive. For many years, omitting the traditional drop ceiling was assumed to be not just cooler but also to cost less. Common sense seemed to be that by choosing open ceilings, the cost of the drop ceiling was simply avoided, saving on labor, materials and time.

2008 study of retail and office interior construction in five cities seemed to back up that assumption. Sponsored by the Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association (CISCA), the study found that initial construction costs for suspended ceilings were 15-22 percent higher than for open plenums in offices, and 4-11 percent higher in retail spaces.

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Designers Predict Trends that Will Shape 2018

Posted on January 3, 2018

For the article, “9 Big Trends That Will Shape 2018,” Fast Company interviewed systems thinkers, industrial designers and artificial intelligence (AI) specialists and asked them to name the technology trends and forces they see ahead in the next year. Three of the ideas the designers predicted are:

  • User-Friendly Government: A rise in tools dedicated to informing people of local elections, decision-making processes and regulations.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Design: AI Designers “will lead multidisciplinary teams in the creation and design of the era of artificial intelligence.” Much the way design humanized technology, design will play a critical role in the advancement of AI.
  • Disaggregation of Core Technology: Digital and physical design will become indistinguishable as the core technology found in smartphones (e.g., cameras, microphones and screens) is disaggregated and embedded into different environments (e.g., clothing, homes). No longer will people be staring at their smartphone screens but instead generating and gathering data fluidly in their wider environment.

Denver: Green Roofs Now Required

Posted on November 27, 2017

According to an article in the Denver Post, downtown Denver is about 5 degrees hotter than surrounding areas in the summer due to the heat radiating from concrete rooftops and pavement. Denver ranks third in the country for the severity of the “urban heat island” effect — described as a phenomenon that increases air conditioning use and worsens air quality.

Citing a solution, the Denver Green Roof Initiative placed an initiative on the November 7 ballot, which recently passed, that will require buildings 25,000 square feet and over, constructed after January 1, 2018, to cover at least 20 percent of their roofs with gardens or solar panels. Denver joins San Francisco, New York, London, and Paris in cities around the world with similar requirements.

Realtors, contractors, and builders opposed the initiative, citing a rise in construction and housing costs as their primary concern. The Green Roof Initiative estimates a green roof will cost about $15 more per square foot than a traditional roof but will pay for itself in six years.

Bringing the Outside In

Posted on November 22, 2017

By Roger Heerema

A fresh-air, 28th-floor amenity lounge has transformed a Chicago office tower.

EXPANSIVE CITY views might be the greatest advantage offered by an upper floor of a downtown high-rise. But once you turn your back to the windows, it’s easy to forget that you’re in the center of a bustling city. You could be on any floor of any office building, anywhere.

That’s not the case at 200 West Jackson, a recently redeveloped building in downtown Chicago. On the 28th floor of this office tower, windows open during warm weather months to bring in fresh air and the sounds of the city below. This full sensory experience creates an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for a hospitality lounge, where building tenants socialize, collaborate and recharge.

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