As the office market is beginning to see first signs of a recovery, Houston-area landlords and property managers are bringing everything – from coffee shops to concerts – to their properties, experts on the office market said at an Aug. 9 luncheon hosted by the International Facility Management Association.
Progressive, savvy property managers who are seeing success in a lukewarm office market are taking seriously things like event programming and experiential amenities, Emily Howard-Wilson, a senior associate at Cushman & Wakefield, said at the luncheon. Panelists included Howard-Wilson; Lauri Goodman Lampson, CEO of PDR Corp.; and Raylena Browning, pre-construction director for the Houston office of Manhattan Construction. The panel was moderated by Ellyn Wulfe, civic and culture leader and senior associate at Gensler.
Wulfe noted that companies used to establish their brand through their logo or basic marketing materials; now, companies’ brands are being determined by consumers and clients – and the experiences those clients have in a company’s space and with their services.
“That’s a very different thing (regarding) who’s in control of the brand,” Wulfe said.
Among the landlords and property managers taking creative approaches to programming are Houston-based Parkway and New York-based Brookfield Property Partners, Howard-Wilson said, the latter of which recently acquired the 4.2 million-square foot Houston Center, a downtown office campus. Howard-Wilson said that Brookfield is expected to do a Houston Center renovation that’s similar to the nearly $50 million in upgrades it completed at Allen Center.
And Parkway, for its part, is working on reprogramming Greenway Plaza into a destination for tenants and non-tenants alike. The company’s been working to add new restaurants and entertainment offerings to its indoor and outdoor spaces, Parkway’s Mike Fransen told the Houston Business Journal in 2017.
“I want to … remind everyone that your space is a reflection of your brand, whether you realize it or not,” Howard-Wilson said. “That’s just not based on your individual office suite, but (on) the building and your campus as a whole.”