Rooftops: more than just a pretty view

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NRooftops-more-than-just-a-pretty-view_718ew York’s skyscrapers may still lead the way when it comes to making the most of their rooftops but on the other side of the country, where the buildings are shorter and the sun is more prevalent, JLL Vice President Maureen Hawley is
watching the trend for maximizing the potential of the very top floor unfold in Los Angeles.

“We’re seeing many landlords take a really hard look at how they can incorporate outdoor spaces into high rises in particular,” Hawley says. Many of those buildings stand in L.A.’s central business district, a submarket that features more campus environments than downtown L.A. has to offer, and where landlords are keen to get in on the thriving media and technology sector leasing activity.

Competing with that space requires office-tower owners to get creative themselves. “How do they activate these high rises to appeal to people who say, ‘Well, I want to be in creative space,’ where they typically tend to think ‘creative space’ as a converted warehouse, 1920s building, or a campus,” Hawley asks.

One way is to add or activate outdoor space. Hawley has seen the promise of fresh air help close leasing deals. “It’s definitely come up as a serious point of interest for tenants, to know they can stay in the central business district, have an office in a vertical environment, and still have that outdoor space: a building roof top, balconies, or landscaped plazas, without needing to move to a campus,” she says.

Rooftop requirements
In some industries, outdoor space is quickly moving from a perk to a requirement. “When you’re looking especially at tech and media firms, the competition to attract and retain talent is so fierce, so they are constantly trying to develop the best and the newest workplace,” Hawley says. “They are very cognizant of the fact that they will need to have larger budgets in order to deliver a workplace full of myriad amenities to give them the best chance of retaining and recruiting talent.”

Companies with larger budgets can help incentivize landlords to collaboratively develop outdoor space, says Hawley, whether it’s creating a balcony by bringing the glass line back or converting a rooftop into a lush deck.

That’s not to say smaller clients are being deprived of fresh air. While working to land a larger tenant, some landlords see the benefit of investing their own capital to add outdoor common areas for other building tenants. Other projects like The BLOC, a mixed-use development in downtown L.A., are incorporating shared roof decks from the start as a building perk. “For mid-size projects that want to reposition themselves as more of a boutique building, it’s a great amenity to have,” says Hawley.

For tenants, offering an outdoor option is an obvious morale booster, and it can deliver a little extra productivity. “[Companies] don’t necessarily have to worry about employees going out for a walk and wasting all those minutes leaving the project,” says Hawley. With a roof, “employees can take their time to decompress steps away from the office, and it’s more efficient for both employees and the employer.”

For more information contact: Maureen Hawley

Originally published on Real Views

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