Scott Watson
Scott Watson

It has certainly been a trying time in commercial real estate. Now that COVID restrictions are being lifted, people want the feeling of hospitality on their return to the workplace.

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“Everyone who operates in our buildings should have equal access to opportunity, and a strong sense of belonging, regardless of where or how they choose to work,” says Scott Watson, partner of leasing and acquisitions for Crown Realty Partners in Toronto.

Crown provides amazing amenities in their buildings so work is more enjoyable and motivating everyday. These include outdoor patios, showers, outdoor gardens, dining amenities and more. By providing an array of different environments for people to work from, their tenants have flexibility to work in adaptive environments that suit their needs. Additional amenities are common practice in Crown’s building repositioning projects, with a focus on wellness in their building communities.

In addition to offering amenities, Crown is pre-building 25 suites across their portfolio with Ready Suites. Crown has found that tenants want to bring in their own furniture and complete final set-up but having the base in place to avoid the need for construction management, countless hours on design and internal reviews has been very appealing.

While tenants benefit from amenity-rich buildings as a recruitment and retention tool, they also benefit from being more efficient with their space. For example, a tenant may be able to reduce its internal conference rooms when the building offers extensive conference facilities – allowing the company to accommodate more employees.

Crown does the legwork for tenants so they can allocate their funds to where they need it to attract and retain the best talent and to welcome their teams back to the workplace. Its conference and tenant lounges offer large-scale or smaller format solutions for meetings or events with high-quality equipment and design finishes. Integration of booking (and soon, payment) is done through a mobile app. The app works through Bluetooth, recognizing you at the conference centre when you arrive so that your phone acts as your access card to amenity spaces. It’s a seamless process, similar to what you’d expect if you were staying at a hotel… may we all get back into hotels soon!

The base building is a tenant’s first interaction with their work environment, a more critical experience than ever. From rooftop gardens and beehives to bike storage and community engagement events and initiatives, Crown’s goal is for the workplace experience to be consistent from arrival at a building through to when a tenant sits down at their desk or meeting space.

Working from home has challenged everyone, forcing people to reflect on what is important to them. As millennials grow older and start families, the trend to relocating to the suburbs is following what many U.S. cities have been experiencing for the last few years. Because the standard 9-5 thinking about work has changed, the office is now seen as an extension of home. Crown demonstrates that tenants want a certain entertainment value, ease of access, office space and tools that help them be more productive. There’s a strong need for communication, collaboration and culture.

Disclosure: Crown Realty Partners has been a client of the author.


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