Vacant parking lots and empty workspaces¾this is the picture that greets you when you visit any of Washington DC’s sprawling “Jurassic office parks”, as Forbes.com contributor Andrew Levine calls it, in his article of the same title (written on June 5, 2015). Compounds of buildings that were once home to dozens of corporations and government agencies are now abandoned complexes, with nothing but countless unoccupied cubicles gathering dust.
Suburban Office Parks Have Lost Their Appeal
If you read the first part of this blog series, then you learned just how extensive the damage has been to the Metro Washington DC office market. We mentioned how the Montgomery County Planning Department released an Office Market Assessment report that states that, as of the second quarter of 2015, there is a staggering 71.5 million sq. ft. of vacant office space in the DC region. Fairfax County is the most heavily affected, with 20 million sq. ft. of unused office space.
The report cites in their findings that “transit connectivity is increasingly important to office tenants”. Modern office workers prefer locations that are nearer to various modes of public transportation, such as buses and cabs -- something that suburban office parks are not designed for.
Office Tenants Want to Be Near Business and Commercial Centers
Despite the fact that office tenants differ in preferences, it seems that they all want an office in a more strategic location, specifically the metro, to attract well-educated professionals to add to their workforce and to be closer in proximity to:
- client businesses or partner companies
- a major airport, making it easier for clients to come and go after meetings
- affordable residences for employees
- support operations
- health care providers
- other service providers
As suburban office parks continue to struggle for their place in the market, it seems that the metro-accessible office environment is thriving with the continuous influx of companies wanting to set up their offices near cities. The only chance suburban office parks have is to up the ante by changing the way that companies view these archaic business compounds and revive whatever interest tenants used to have in them.
Perhaps they can learn a thing or two from what the newer office spaces are offering. Read the last part of the series to discover what sort of new work environment businesses are choosing over suburban office parks, and what features and amenities they offer.