The Destination Office


The concept of the "workplace experience" has become all the rage over the past few years, and it’s now guiding decision-making throughout the industry. As commercial real estate professionals, we’re looking beyond buildings themselves to explore every aspect of the occupant experience.

As an association, BOMA has grown to encompass many different commercial building types—healthcare real estate, retail, industrial, corporate facilities and more. The lines between these property types are beginning to blur as well. Increasingly, healthcare is borrowing wisdom from retail as the industry becomes more consumer-focused, for example. Live-work-play developments continue to grow in popularity, creating spaces where residential, retail and office work in tandem. And, in curating the ultimate tenant experience, office buildings are looking to hotels as a model.

It’s an exciting time to be working in this evolving industry. I’ve written before about the work my firm, GBX Group, does—particularly our work redeveloping or preserving historic properties around the country. One of our most recent projects is the Peery Hotel in Salt Lake City. First built 109 years ago, the surrounding area has changed considerably since the hotel first functioned as a popular destination for wealthy railroad passengers. This history has not been lost over the years. The décor includes antique railroad signs, and the original architectural design has been carefully maintained.

People are drawn to boutique, historic hotels like the Peery Hotel, because it’s an experience they can’t get anywhere else. Their basic needs can be met at any good hotel (although, back in the day, the hotel’s main attraction was its hot water!), but places like this offer a richer experience, including a connection to the local community and a link to the past.

Consider the impact this mindset can have in an office. When the surrounding environment feeds the imagination, workers may feel more inspired and connected to their work. Offices are borrowing amenities and concierge services from the hospitality industry, allowing workers to stay focused at work while life’s daily tasks are done for them—or conveniently nearby. But, we also should look to hotel buildings themselves for inspiration on how to make our properties visually rich and culturally interesting, even if they aren’t 100-year-old historic properties.

I am proud that the Peery Hotel will be preserved for future generations through our ownership of the property. I’m looking forward to showing it off to many of my colleagues when we’re in town for the 2019 BOMA International Conference & Expo this June. Even if you don’t make it over to the Peery, I recommend you come and experience the rich history of Salt Lake City—and the many highlights of BOMA’s annual conference. You might just pick up a tip or two about leveraging the occupant experience that you can take back to your own property!

Through the collective efforts of the BOMA community, this new strategic plan will serve as a catalyst for change in a rapidly evolving commercial real estate marketplace and will position our association as a valuable resource to our members and a strategic business partner to companies for years to come. I couldn’t be more excited about BOMA’s bright future ahead.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2019 issue of BOMA Magazine.