Demand for office space in Chicago’s downtown and suburban markets has not recovered from pre-pandemic levels, with inventory, availability rate, and sublease space having risen steadily over the past 30 months. Currently, of the 143,500,000 square feet of office inventory in Chicago, 21.9 percent sits empty. Additionally, approximately a quarter of the 99,300,000 square feet of space in Chicago’s suburbs is also available for lease.
Chicago has a diverse economy with sectors including finance, manufacturing, healthcare, education, and tourism. Despite this, the office market has continued to struggle compared to other areas of the country. To be competitive in Chicago, office buildings must feature the elements that tenants are looking for today. The fact is, inside Chicago’s slow downtown office market, there are pockets of corporate demand with a clear split between “have” and “have-not” buildings. Companies favor modern office space heavy on amenities, especially as they try to induce their employees to return to daily commutes.
If you are an office building owner or manager, you may be puzzling over the question of how to become one of these “have” properties. At Cicero Construction Group, we have your answer. We are in the business of making our clients more competitive by converting older, tired spaces into modern offices with assorted perks such as employee lounges, private outdoor areas, bright and clean interiors, and contemporary furnishings.
In the current flight to quality, Chicago’s office building owners need to give tenants the up-to-date amenities and mechanicals they want, along with the option of custom build-outs. Below are a few renovation ideas that Cicero Construction Group can help make realities in your property.
Office spaces with sterile colors and cubicle partitions are out of date. Cubicles may be great for privacy, but they’re also isolating and can lead to slacking off. Instead, today’s office designs are stimulating, not suffocating. Workers want an upbeat, collaborative environment where they feel seen and heard. Bright colors and open spaces are preferred today with rich flooring choices stressing organic materials such as wood and stone tiles. You don’t need to go overboard either – a space can still feel professional with just a few splashes of color.
Work balance is vital. Adding inviting employee lounges, rec areas, or gyms give employees space for breaks and socializing. Alternative places can feature pool tables, fun artwork, and air hockey tables. Be creative.
Office workers are indoors most of the day. Adding biophilic design to offices, hallways and lobbies allows workers to reap nature’s benefits. Earthy tones, indoor plants, waterfalls, and varied natural textures add visual appeal while creating a serene atmosphere.
Building on this idea, office employees can enjoy nature with the creation of outdoor or semi-outdoor workspaces. Include Wi-Fi and comfy seating, plus outdoor features, such as shaded areas.
A trend today is the hot desk zone. These are open rooms with shared tables and private workstations that let employees go to one space for collaborative tasks and another when they need focus. To add to this collaborative spirit, break down divides with open floor layouts. Knocking down walls is a simple way to make a modern, airy office design.
Another way to open up closed-off space are glass-walled rooms. While it will muffle sound, glass keeps people feeling connected. Modern open offices tend to echo. Hanging acoustic paneling from the ceiling can help with muffling noise.
The gap between vacancies in top-tier buildings and lower-quality buildings in Chicago and its suburbs will keep widening this year. Cicero Construction Group is here to help you transform your office building into a more desired space, plus make the most of your renovation investment.