Article | Adaptive Spaces

The Amenity Game

Amenity is the number one reason occupier organisations elect to move to new locations. So, what does this tell us about designing buildings for the future?

March 10, 2020

By Geoff Warren

The Amenity Game

Amenity is the number one reason occupier organisations elect to move to new locations.

According to CBRE’s 2019 Australian Office Occupier Survey, 69% of respondents claimed amenity was an important factor when choosing a building suitable for their head office.

So, what does this tell us about designing buildings for the future?

As organisations field the war on talent and deal with evolving competitive threats, it’s clear that getting workplace and building amenity right is becoming increasingly more relevant. Not only to attract top talent, but also to create engaging places that encourage the innovation and ideation that companies need to thrive.

The distinction between amenity and perks is how they relate to the end-user. An amenity is anything pertaining to the built form such as high-quality end-of-trip facilities and lobby cafés and shared roof gardens.

A perk – which has catapulted in importance in recent years – pertains to an individual participating in a fitness class, attending a building party or having a concierge arrange their dry cleaning. Perks come in many forms, and occupier demand for the right perks is rising.

Recently, CBRE Project Management hosted a panel event that brought together some of the country’s preeminent property leaders to discuss what ‘amenity’ means to building occupiers, investors, owners and operators in the 21st century. Panellists included:

  • Kate Heaney, Head of Client Care, CBRE
  • Jennifer Saiz, Executive General Manager Group Property and Security
  • Chris Hynes, Head of Leasing and Workplace (Office), Dexus
  • Richard Francis-Jones, Design Director, FJMT

The panel discussed CBA Axle campus as a wonderful example of what a true partnership between the investor and the occupier looks like and how this works to promote community. In partnership with Mirvac, CBA created and activated an array of place identities for the benefit of all visitors and users – not just employees, but for residents and the wider community.

With diminishing opportunities for core CBD development sites, asset re-positioning is becoming increasingly relevant in maintaining a return for owners and their shareholders.

Chris Hynes noted that over 70% of Dexus’s customers had a footprint of less than 1,000sqm. Adding that small occupiers have never had it better, ideally placed to reap the benefits of amenity – like what Dexus Place offers, including fully-supported, high quality technology enabled meeting spaces, collaborative environments and event settings.

Expanding on this theme, Richard Francis-Jones observed that every building in the city played an important role in creating inviting and colourful urban environments, encouraging people to experience the city. We are now seeing commercial buildings leverage design lessons from universities, residential developments and the hospitality sector to create new kinds of places that respond to how people want to live, work and play today.

From a CBRE perspective, to meet the evolving needs of both our investor and occupier clients, the curation of great amenities in buildings has never been more exciting. To meet this shifting landscape, where we previously only employed engineers and security staff, we now partner with our clients to curate tailored concierge and experiential services.

The buildings that offer both amenities and perks are those that are in the highest demand in Sydney CBD.