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Why Every Office Building Needs an Amenity Center

March 14, 2018

Building owners are creating integrating amenity centers to help appeal to tenants with additional square footage, open working spaces, and “bonus” areas like bars for hosting events and gaming zones for taking time away from work.

As the minds behind the build-out and design for numerous spaces in the 1735 Market Street building in Philadelphia, it made perfect sense for building management to call upon Meyer, a locally-based architecture and interior design firm, to design the new Lounge @ 1735, the approximately 20,000-square-foot amenity center on the building’s fifth floor.

“[Amenity centers are] probably one of the biggest trends we're seeing right now with building owners. They are specifically targeted for just tenants in the building. These areas are created so that not only can companies use it as a conference room when they have a bigger meeting, but it’s also another space for employees to come when they need a change of scenery. Here they can work, grab a cup of coffee, and maybe socialize or network with other tenants in the building.” -- Melinda McCann, vice president at Meyer

The floor includes 18,000 square feet dedicated to amenity training, meetings pace, gaming, and open seating while the building management offices take up 2,000 square feet down a more private hallway. The rooftop deck—a rarity in Philadelphia—comprises 1,200 square feet.

According to Debra Breslow, principal at Meyer, when prospective tenants look at buildings they now ask about amenity spaces in the way they did fitness centers and separate meetings spaces five to ten years ago. “People can pull out laptops or iPads, connect to wifi, and work from these spaces in addition to having team meetings, client meetings, hosting events, etc.”

Breslow noted the rising costs of construction as possibly lending to the amenity space trend. “These costs have really affected when a tenant goes out to the market,” she explained. “They look to us and ask, ‘How can we be more efficient with space?’ We always look into a tenant’s space and ask the same thing, but we also want to help use their new space to drive culture change within the organization. They may want to have an all-hands-on-deck meeting and you may not be able to accommodate that [in the office area] but you can go to an amenity space. Or they may want a client entertainment area. So if you're able to offer these amenities, you can not only share them with your clients, you can also share them with your employees. It's also a terrific recruiting tool for new talent.”

According to McCann, The Lounge @ 1735 is generating quite a bit of buzz in the local area as amenity centers become a major draw for both tenants and talent. “This is probably the most-talked-about space right now in the Class A Philadelphia CBD,” she said. “I've toured a lot of buildings lately up and down Market Street as we're doing a couple of projects [here] and a lot of people say they have amenity centers but it's really just a quarter of a floor with a really nice conference room and a coffee machine. I think this is the first time that a Class A building owner has taken a space like this and made it into something.”

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