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Should You Model Your Office After a Skateboard Company's?

(reprinted with permission by BisNow, The North American Leader in Commercial Real Estate News and Events”)

Action sports companies have always been at the forefront of creativity in the retail sector, and now they’re turning into leaders of the creative office push as well. But that’s not going to look the way you might expect.


Friedman Stroffe & Gerard (FSG) attorney Jennifer Stroffe (who counts Patagonia, Hybrid, Vissla, Wave Loch, and Fox Head among FSG’s clients) says Billabong’s store in The Camp played a large role in the trend towards building creative retail spaces in Orange County. That location opened in 2001 with a skateboard ramp inside, and the shopping center rebuilt itself as more creative around it. That space has been taken over by Active and the ramp closed down but Jennifer says the trend is accelerating with action sports companies putting in unique elements that reinforce their brand. (FSG’s client Lorna Jane is building a store now with workout and yoga rooms inside—you can buy your sports bra and head back to use it immediately.)



Similarly, Jennifer says action sports companies (including Quicksilver, Oakley and Fox Head) have been some of the first to push to fully integrated creative offices in Orange County. That’s being driven by the culture and purpose of these companies—to recruit and retain top talent (often a younger, more athletic demographic), to promote creativity and cutting edge product, and promote work/life balance. But while some companies are pushing the envelope with unusual elements---like Wave Loch, which is installing a wave pool at its HQ---most are just to more open and collaborative spaces and more progressive work policies. Pictured, one of FSG's action sports clients' creative offices.

That subtlety is indicative of the creative office movement across industries, Jennifer tells us. The drive behind the trend for most companies is increasing productivity (and thus, profitability), and that can mean something as basic as adding breakout rooms or taking the dividers down in one area (that’s what FSG has done in its own recently renovated space, above). Companies should consider factors like industry and size to determine which creative elements they can incorporate. And Jennifer says not every company can make the conversion—there aren’t many existing creative options in Orange County, and many smaller companies don’t have the funds or influence to go as far down the spectrum as they’d like.



“Orange County Office of the Future” Seminar a Smashing Success


Over 250 people attended the “Orange County Office of the Future” seminar last week, co-hosted by Friedman Stroffe & Gerard, P.C. at The gen2 Building in Irvine.


The seminar featured leading national and local figures in real estate, offering insights into one of real estate's hottest topics.  Speakers included Friedman Stroffe & Gerard’s Jennifer Stroffe and top real estate professionals from Prudential RealEstate Investors, PIMCO, Hulu, IA Interior, Architects, Tangram Interiors, Bixby Land Company and more.



All over Orange County, many tenants are redefining the term “office.”  It's not just tech tenants in Silicon Valley who are demanding the creative office space now—here in Orange County all types of tenants want in. 


But what is “creative office space”? The panelists grappled with the question, and while there is no single answer, part of it is meeting tenant expectations for open floor plans and amenities such as break out rooms and game rooms to promote collaboration. Another part is owners and developers taking the initiative to offer features tenants might not realize they want—until they experience them. Outdoor space that integrates with indoor space is one example of what may be an important amenity that tenants themselves may not even know they want until they see or experience it.


Panelists also addressed questions such as: What creative tenants most signify this evolution and is it creative office right for every business? How is new technology impacting the demand for creative office?  What do employers need to know in designing their offices in order to attract and retain top talent? What are developers/owners providing to entice tenants to their portfolios?


The commercial real estate industry will continue to deal with this exciting and challenging design issue.  If you have any questions regarding topics addressed at this event or other leasing or real estate concerns, contact Jennifer Stroffe.



Friedman Stroffe & Gerard - 19800 MacArthur Boulevard Suite 1100 - Irvine CA 92532 - USA
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