The days when the office was viewed by business leaders as simply a container in which to place people are long gone. Today, the office has become a mechanism through which wider strategic objectives can be advanced.
Consequently, the relocation process has a lot hinging on it. In reviewing the key leasing transactions that have taken place in the Global Cities over recent years, it is abundantly clear that the majority of deals are indeed underpinned by one or more the five broader strategic considerations shown at the foot of this page.
A case point is the recent reconfiguration of the Australian offices of KPMG. These moves saw the Big Four professional services firm commit to over 300,000 sq ft in Tower 3 at the International Towers Complex in Sydney’s new Barangaroo district, and to a similar amount of tower space at Collins Square near Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station.
KPMG realised that a relocation into new space presented a tremendous opportunity to reset the business away from a ‘conservative’ image towards one that was more innovative and progressive. In short, an image that was aspirational to the next generation of KMPG people; but which also excited and empowered the existing workforce, whose average age is just 28.
Above: KPMG's new vibrant Melbourne office
It was also a move that illustrated to clients that KPMG was a business which created innovative solutions and services, via a collaborative ethos. In this sense, the internal configuration and fit-out of the space was as important as the modern, cutting edge exteriors of the buildings.
Associated with the relocation therefore was a corporate mission to create the ‘workplace of the future’ – space that is productive through the application of technology; that enables collaboration between employees by encouraging agility; and space which perpetuates a true sense of community.
The total space taken by KPMG across the two cities has actually reduced – something that clearly supports the inevitable financial considerations of occupation. Yet despite this, the business is firmly re-set through its innovative use of well-considered and well-designed real estate.
"As real estate moves reset businesses and enable strategic objectives to be fulfilled, competitive advantage ensues. This creates pressure for others to follow-suit."
This theme of using new office space to make a statement is also evident in the relocation of the New York office of global law firm, Cooley LLP. Moving from 100,000 sq ft in Midtown Manhattan’s Grace Building, Cooley has committed to 130,000 sq ft across five upper floors at 55 Hudson Yards – a 50-storey tower at the heart of an exciting new neighbourhood emerging on Manhattan’s West Side.
As the firm approaches its centenary year in 2020, there is clear symbolism in a move to a LEED gold-rated building, which represents what Cooley’s CEO, Joe Conroy, describes as being “among the world’s most sophisticated law firm office spaces”. This is a building which, as well as being a clear corporate commitment to New York City, also makes a bold statement about Cooley as a global law firm best positioned for the next generation.
These are just two examples of real estate being utilised by occupiers to drive a wider transformation of business profile or processes. There are many more playing out across the Global Cities on a daily basis.
As real estate moves reset businesses and enable strategic objectives to be fulfilled, competitive advantage ensues. This creates pressure for others to follow-suit. On this basis, real estate decisions will forever represent a clear statement of corporate intent.
Our office agency and tenant representation teams can provide expert advice to tenants and landlords across the global office market. We deliver real value through carefully formulated property strategies and robust negotiation, in prime business districts for landlords, multinational businesses and local occupiers.