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Tenants get more amenities in their Perth CBD offices

October 6, 2017

The Perth office of architecture firm Woods Bagot in the old Palace Hotel. Photo: Dion Robeson

As the Perth office market shows signs of a recovery, landlords continue to improve amenities in a bid to attract and retain tenants.

Competitive rates and lease incentives are encouraging many tenants to upgrade to premium and A-grade office space, while others who relocated to suburban buildings during the heady days of the mining boom are returning to the CBD.

Knight Frank office leasing director Ian Edwards said it was a tenants’ market with not much new supply in the pipeline.

“Tenants are going into better quality buildings because the deals are so good,” he said.

“They want to be in a good location, near public transport. They want access to food and beverage outlets, end-of trip facilities, a creche, gymnasium and other wellness-style offers, and they want the building to have good technology, communications, airconditioning – everything a modern building should offer.

“In the normal market, you have to pay a premium for these types of facilities but in this market, you don’t have to pay very much more.”

Offices are becoming more inviting so workers want to spend time there. Photo: Dion Robeson Offices are becoming more inviting so workers want to spend time there. The Woods Bagot office in Perth. Photo: Dion Robeson

Several buildings along prime St Georges Terrace real estate, such as Allendale Square, QV1 and London House, have opted for makeovers. Revamped lobbies and forecourts, new end-of-trip facilities, expanded food and retail outlets, gymnasiums
and even a community garden are among the improvements.

Architecture firm Woods Bagot has transformed the 1897-built Palace Hotel into its own studio, creating a contemporary, fluid workspace which honours its hotel heritage by merging workplace with hospitality. The design features free-seating
desks, fixed standing bars, a boardroom with exposed ceiling, lounge areas and a mezzanine atrium.

Woods Bagot associate Melanie Porrins said office fitouts were increasingly blurring the line between work and lifestyle, as clients looked for a variety of spaces to support different types of working, such as group and individual work, gathering spaces and shared amenities.

“It’s about a more residential and comfortable feel rather than a cold, corporate environment, with natural materials, greenery, lounge-style furniture and lighter, timeless interiors that will still look and feel great long into the future,” she said.

Employee wellbeing had become a focus, with office design providing spaces that enabled people to perform at their best and move around rather than being anchored to their desks.

“Sustainability has to always be a consideration, and today it should be second nature,” Ms Porrins said. “The next evolution is wellness and associated accreditation spearheaded by the WELL Building Standard.

“This shifts sustainability from being environmentally conscious to becoming all‐encompassing of physical and spiritual wellbeing – how do we better support the work-life balance and make people happier, healthier and all round more productive.

 The former Palace Hotel has been transformed into offices by the architecture firm. Photo: Dion Robeson The former Palace Hotel has been transformed into offices by the architecture firm. Photo: Dion Robeson

“What can be included in the building to attract tenants that make them feel like they are part of an exclusive club.

“We are now seeing a greater proportion of spaces being dedicated to things that were once considered nice to haves, such as meditation suites, prayer rooms, mothers’ facilities, contemplative space and rooftop gardens.”

Mr Edwards said the trend was to make the office a place where staff wanted to be.

“Technology has got to the point where you don’t need to come in to the office, so you need to make the office so inviting – anything to keep people in the office space longer to get that extra bit of productivity and make them feel like they belong,” he said.

“Owners are aware that technology changes the way that people work and think and they have to be one step ahead of that and make sure that what they’re spending their capital on will suit what businesses want and what the employees want,” he said. “It’s about more than bricks and mortar, it’s about keeping a tenant happy and productive.”

WHAT’S HOT

  • Shared, club-like environments and communication hubs.
  • End-of- trip facilities including showers, bike storage and lockers.
  • Gym and wellness centres.
  • Sit-stand desks and ergonomic chairs.
  • Laundry facilities, such as washers, dryers and ironing boards.
  • Bringing the outdoors in, through displays of greenery.
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