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Commercial real estate firms are on the move throughout the West, but no market is more active than San Diego. Some of the industry’s biggest players have decided to upgrade their digs in America’s Finest City in pursuit of happier employees and office prototypes they can be proud of.

Much of this motivation stems from the rise of Millennials in the workforce, the large amount of tech- and creative-focused firms in the area and surveys like CBRE’s annual Americas Occupier Survey, which touts the importance of an effective workplace experience.

The study surveyed 176 American executives, with 67 percent noting employee satisfaction was the key measure of the success of their workplace strategy programs. Cost per square foot came in second, with occupancy cost per employee and target cost reduction rounding out the list. Additionally, 55 percent of respondents said talent attraction or retention was among the top three drivers of their organizations’ workplace strategy, followed by promoting collaboration and operating expense savings.

While one commercial real estate firm opts for a more horizontally inclined project, another is choosing the vertical life. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank announced it would relocate its San Diego regional office to the new 15-story One La Jolla Center in the UTC area.

The firm is expanding to the Irvine Company’s new tower to better accommodate its rapid growth over the past year, which saw its brokerage team more than double in San Diego. The firm believes the new space will provide an opportunity to create a collaborative work environment for the team while supporting its further recruitment efforts. One La Jolla offers modern workspaces with 10 feet of floor-to-ceiling glass for maximum daylight. It also includes on-site amenities like fast-casual restaurant Bistro 24, state-of-the-art fitness and conference centers, a Wi-Fi enabled outdoor “living room” with resort-style seating for more than 100 people that can foster employee collaboration, covered bicycle storage, electric vehicle charging stations, private showers, lockers and wetsuit drying racks.

Like CBRE, NGKF can also enjoy the shopping and dining options at nearby Westfield UTC, along with the Costa Verde shopping center.

“It’s an exciting move for our San Diego team,” says Greg May, NGKF’s regional managing director. “This highly efficient, quality environment is the perfect base for us to create a new work space that reflects our coastal location and encourages our teams to excel.”

One La Jolla is now more than 65 percent leased. John Turner, regional vice president of Irvine Company Office Properties, notes that NGKF and its employees were the exact demographic his firm was hoping to target when the building design was initially conceived.

“We’re pleased that customers ranging from world-renowned law firms to newer, energetic tech companies, such as Webroot and Neustar, to nationally renowned real estate firms such as NGKF consider One La Jolla the perfect workplace environment to thrive, grow and recruit and retain talent,” he says.

The building was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.


Originally published May 2017, Western Real Estate Business

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