Americans are returning to the office, but the transition back may look a little different than people were anticipating. During the pandemic, and even before it, people began moving away from the country’s densest and most expensive cities to suburban and even satellite markets.
These moves seemed simple enough when it looked like work-from-home was here to stay but now, with employers eager for workers to return to the office for the enhanced collaboration, productivity and mentorship opportunities in-person work offers, things are getting a little more complicated.
Companies that want to bring employees back may think they are facing two choices: Find replacements for employees who prefer to work remotely — no small task given the current war for talent — or give up on the dream of everyone working together. But there may be a third, better option: open an office that’s closer to where people actually want to live and find ways to make it even more appealing than their living room couch.
“To draw employees back to the office, companies need to look toward minimizing their commutes, providing them with the types of amenities they can’t find at home and showing that they prioritize their health and well-being,” said Esther Pulver vice president, Oliver Tyrone Pulver Corp., a real estate developer in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
OTP partnered with American Real Estate Partners and Partners Group to build an office building designed to accomplish all of those goals. Seven Tower Bridge is located in Conshohocken, a suburban core market located about 12 miles outside of Philadelphia that has been rated the No. 1 Suburb for Young Professionals in the Philadelphia Region by Niche.com, thanks to the high number of college-educated millennial residents, job opportunities, walkable access to bars and restaurants, and affordable housing.
Seven Tower Bridge, located in the heart of Conshohocken, is a 260K SF office tower with expansive views of the Schuylkill River, fast access to interstates 76 and 476 and a new $16M SEPTA train station across the street.
“This is the perfect location for companies that need to attract and retain the region’s best young professionals, and also get them back into the office,” AREP co-founder and CEO Douglas Fleit said. “It offers an easy commute, walkable access to dozens of restaurants, walking and bike trails, and views of the Schuylkill River they won’t see from their home office.”
Along with those views, Seven Tower Bridge offers employees a host of other amenities that they won’t find at home, including 20K SF of fitness facilities with a locker room and towel service, café areas, and indoor and outdoor conference spaces with WiFi. Huddle rooms provide collaboration space, private seating areas enable focused work, and a lounge and sunset-view balcony are happy hour destinations.
World-renowned architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed Seven Tower Bridge to prioritize tenant health and well-being. Full-height windows allow for maximum natural light and outdoor views, which employees consider to be the most important attribute of an office over cafeterias, fitness centers and even on-site childcare. Research has also shown that natural light in an office can help improve energy, mood and productivity.
Companies today are under greater pressure than ever to show their environmental, social and corporate governance. Seven Tower Bridge has achieved LEED Silver certification, indicating that it has addressed carbon, water, energy and health and indoor environmental quality concerns. It has also achieved Fitwel certification, further demonstrating its commitment to creating a healthy indoor environment for tenants through its design, amenities, and HVAC and air filtration systems.
“We’re focusing not only on the building’s impact on the planet, but its impact on the people who work there as well,” Fleit said.
Several floors of the building have already been leased, including by anchor tenant Hamilton Lane, a leading private markets investment management firm that has leased half the building, and Lutron Electronics, a leader in architectural lighting and shading solutions.
Pulver said that Seven Tower Bridge’s tenants are growing professional services firms that need to hire the talent that’s hardest to attract and retain in the current economy — skilled young professionals.
“Conshohocken has already been shown to be a great location for successful companies, and now we have created a building that delivers the accessibility and amenities and commitment to ESG that today’s tenants and workers demand,” Pulver said.
Featured on Bisnow, March 21, 2022, by Julia Troy, Studio B Editor – Click Here to Read on Bisnow.com