The suburbs seem to be quickly replacing the appeal of urban markets due to large companies’ continued search for young, qualified talent. With more walkable, amenity-rich neighborhoods in the works, the commercial real estate industry is producing a blend of urban metros and suburban markets known as “hipsturbias” or “urban burbs.” The new market provides that all appealing live/work/play that Millennials are after, while office occupiers are embracing the burbs due to lower costs and more affordable rents.
It was thought that Millennials preferred downtown locations but a U.S. census data shows that only 30% of Millennials lived within urban areas as of last summer and that a market’s appeal has less to do with its physical location and more with whether it has access to public transportation, walkability, housing options, and access to jobs and amenities. Suburban markets that offer mixed-use developments – with office, multi-family, and retail – and have an urban feel will experience stronger absorption. A new setting that cropped up for the much sought-after collaborative environment is the trend of converting former newspaper headquarters located in highly sought-after urban or central business district areas into creative office space due to their inherent open design.
In terms of attracting tenants in the urban burb setting, employers and occupiers should institute concierge services that contribute to the “customer experience” – where outside-of-work needs and wants are being met – and entertain the idea of allowing dogs in the workplace. The more progressive companies who know about value creation agree that workers private lives are blending into their workdays. Plus, dogs can play an important role in employee morale and having man’s best friend at work is a big appeal to Millennials. Traditional employers are concerned about the potential for slowed productivity and liability risks. However the business environment as we know it has shifted, becoming more round the clock and more relaxed, as can be seen in workers always being plugged in with fido at their sides.