Musings on Creative Building Amenities from BOMA Roundtable Event

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Recently, a few members of our team attended the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Roundtable event on creative building amenities, hosted at 100 Summer Street in Boston. We host an on-site yoga and wellness class at 100 Summer Street and were thrilled to be able to attend the panel!

 We left with a number of takeaways on the direction building amenities are heading.

Perhaps most importantly is that to succeed, landlords and employers are realizing it’s less about getting your money’s worth and more about staying competitive in the market. If these professionals don’t start following the trend, they will quickly fall behind.

The trend? It’s all about the amenities you offer! Listen to your tenants and provide the amenities they are looking for. Don’t just survey them – go out and talk to them! You can’t just rely on neighborhood amenities. You need amenities within your property to build your community. You can certainly partner with outside vendors, and you should consider using local vendors for each property you own to give it the appropriate city feel tenants seek.

 Commercial real estate professionals might wonder how they can amenitize without sacrificing real estate. Luckily, there are plenty of ways, such as using vacant space, using conference rooms, refitting old bathrooms into showers for runners and cyclists, and bringing in amenities that have their own trucks, such as food, eye vision, and blood bank trucks.

We learned that from an employee's perspective, perceived workplace building must-haves include the 3 Fs – Food, Fitness, and Fresh Air (aka outdoor spaces). In terms of actual work must-haves, people look for programming, programmable spaces, meeting and networking spaces, casual meeting spaces, an activated lobby, a secure building, coffee, a resilient building, a gym, and a clean, comfortable atmosphere.

We completely agree. Combining these two perspectives, we've seen this in action based on the response to our on-site yoga and wellness classes! It's a great way to encourage community.

Other ideas for unique amenities include pop-up retailers, artists, dental, custom tailoring, Tesla test drives, video games, general games, and partnering with local charities. Millennials in particular are focusing on their health, so health-related amenities, such as on-site fitness centers and yoga classes, are a plus. And always be sure to program for five years out rather than twenty years out. Trends tend to change too quickly for long-term planning, and your tenants will thank you for listening to their immediate needs.

Thanks again for having us! We loved this session!