5 Trending Tenant Amenity Ideas for Your Facility

09/21/2018 | By Sarah Kloepple

To be a top commercial office building in today’s world, it takes more than some vending machines and a gym. Tenants want more – oftentimes a one-stop destination for things like food, fitness and wellness. So when considering amenity upgrades at your building or facility, think about creating an experience.

“It’s really about services, creating the ability for folks to get everything they need during the day in these spaces,” says Lauren Coughlin, design director and workplace strategist for D2 Groups LLC.

That doesn’t mean your building needs to become some kind of entertainment center. However, adding simple upgrades like a café, outdoor seating or hiring food trucks for events or lunch can create common spaces that tenants and their employees want to be in rather than pass through.

food truck in AtlantaLynne Pfister, integrated brand solutions manager for BUILDINGS, chatted with some folks who said JLL and the owner of the Terraces in Atlanta are working on a total transition for the common space of the buildings (the complex is made up of multiple Class A buildings).

Food trucks in Atlanta
(Photos courtesy of Lynne Pfister)

They are re-designing the common areas, outside spaces, adding collaborative spaces and all the amenities – not just the food trucks.

“Building owners obviously want to attract tenants,” says Callie Reid, senior designer at CallisonRTKL. “And the employers currently in that building want to attract and retain talent. Their employees are spending so many hours in this building, and the more amenities that are in the building and surrounding area, the more likely their employees are happy and are going to stay.”

So where do you make the upgrades that fit your building?

After identifying what your goals are, consider these five trending amenities:

1. Full-Service Café

In order for your building to stay competitive, some type of food amenity is a must-have.

In suburban Philadelphia, the Arborcrest 5 recently completed a major renovation that’s transformed it into a Class-A building. The goal, says Coughlin, who worked on the redesign, was to raise the bar and create something that stood out.

Photos of the ArborCrest V building in Philadelphia.There was also a need for more of a feeling of community and connectivity, a job that partly falls onto the new lobby.

“A lot of people can be in this lobby and feel like they can work there, socialize there and they have their own sense of space,” Coughlin says.

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The lobby’s new full-service café plays a major role in that. There, tenants and visitors can find hot-pressed sandwiches, coffee and an employee behind the counter all day. There’s also a separate grab-and-go station, as well as healthy food options.

Amenities include a cafe with a grab-and-go station, lounge seating, and a fitness center with garage doors that open to an outdoor basketball court. Courtesy of D2 Groups, LLC.
(Photos of the ArborCrest V building in Philadelphia. Amenities include a cafe with a grab-and-go station and lounge seating. Courtesy of D2 Groups, LLC.)

2. Outdoor Connections

Tenants can only spend so many hours indoors before they need a break, a literal breath of fresh air.

Creating stronger connections between your building and the outdoors can be an attractive amenity for tenants. This can include adding outdoor tables or seating, a courtyard or garden, and sufficient walkways and pathways from your building to the surrounding area.

At the Arborcrest 5 building, sidewalks and pedestrian pathways were added, allowing tenants and employees to use their lunch break to go for a walk, run or even venture to a nearby retail shop.

“The biggest thing is to get outside and have it be a pleasant environment, so I’m not walking across a parking lot, but I have a sidewalk with trees that’s designed for pedestrians,” says David McHenry, principal at Erdy McHenry Architecture, who conducted the build-out of Arborcrest 5. “I can walk side-by-side with somebody.”

Coughlin adds that Arborcrest 5 also has a fitness center with garage doors that open up to a basketball court. “A lot of the intent of this building was to maximize the use and connection of the outdoors as much as possible,” she says.

Photos of the gym in the ArborCrest V building in Philadelphia.
(Photo: ArborCrest V building in Philadelphia. One of the amenities is a fitness center with garage doors that open to an outdoor basketball court. Courtesy of D2 Groups, LLC.)

3. Wellness Rooms

There are other ways to incorporate health-driven components into your building besides the standard gym or fitness center. Designers are increasingly seeing requests for workplace wellness rooms, a space that can be interpreted in a multitude of ways.

It might be a place for yoga and meditation. It could be a maternity room for mothers of newborns to pump. It might also just be a reprieve.

Callie Reid says when a bagel shop closed inside her office’s building, the management team reached out to its tenants. “We got an email from the building owner, and he asked, ‘What would you like to see come downstairs?’” she says. “It was nice that they were asking us for input.”

“A lot of times, there will be a couple of comfy chairs where people can go in and relax,” says Dean Stier, design and marketing expert at National Business Furniture. “Oftentimes these rooms can have a posting on the door that says if it’s occupied or not, so you have a little bit of privacy and are able to go there and catch a breath, lie down if you need to.”

4. Break Room Upgrade

Break room upgrades. Courtesy of National Business Furniture.Once thought of as a boring, institutional space with a coffee machine, break rooms are now experiencing a renaissance. Stier describes them as the “central nervous system of the office.”

“It’s where people come together and share ideas and spontaneous discussion happens,” he adds. “It’s a really important part in the office that needs more attention and a bit more love.”

In order for your building to stay competitive, some type of food amenity is a must-have.

If a break room remodel sounds like the right place for an upgraded amenity in your facility, adding cheerier colors and more modern break room furniture like tables and chairs is a good place to start.

Break room upgrades. Courtesy of National Business Furniture.
(Photos: Break room upgrades. Courtesy of National Business Furniture.)

A fully operational café may not be in the cards for your facility, but adding healthy food options in the break room is an accessible step toward a happier and healthier building. Stier says a company that provides healthy snacks replaced the candy in his office’s vending machines.

“It’s small things like that where people can go and easily grab something, instead of having to go out somewhere and buy it and bring it back,” Stier says. “It’s those little things I think that can help the connectivity between employees and creates more collaboration and bonding.”

5. Event Space

Another amenity that has become increasingly attractive to tenants is a dedicated event space. This can be incorporated in the lobby or even your rooftop. Reid says transforming a rooftop into an event space is ideal – especially with the included “wow” factor.

(Photo: The rooftop event space of the CallisonRTKL project 1500 K Street, an iconic downtown Washington D.C. office building. Credit: Sam Kittner, courtesy of CallisonRTKL)
(Photos: The rooftop event space of the CallisonRTKL project 1500 K Street, an iconic downtown Washington D.C. office building. Credit: Sam Kittner, courtesy of CallisonRTKL)

The rooftop event space of the CallisonRTKL project 1500 K Street, an iconic downtown Washington D.C. office building In Washington, D.C., Reid helped design the rooftop event space of a historical building with a view of the Washington Monument. It incorporates both indoor and outdoor spaces and provides plenty of shading outdoors to fend off the heat.

Ask Tenants for Feedback

If you’re not sure where to start when adding a new amenity, consider going directly to the source. Reid says that when a bagel shop closed inside her office’s building, the management team reached out to its tenants.

“We got an email from the building owner, and he asked, ‘What would you like to see come downstairs?’” she says. “It was nice that they were asking us for input.”


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