Spec Suites and Vanilla Ice Cream


Spec Suites and Vanilla Ice Cream

 

“Would you like to see one of our spec suites?”

For employers seeking the perfect office space for a growing business, that question doesn’t exactly set off fireworks.

What is a spec suite? For most, it’s a generic term for a generic space—fresh and ready to move in but not much more than an empty, white box with nondescript carpet. You might say it’s the commercial real estate equivalent of vanilla ice cream—not in a cone, in a cup. Yet in the world of commercial real estate, there’s no doubt spec suites serve an important purpose for dynamic companies on the move. That’s why KBS views these turn-key spaces in an entirely different light.

Forget vanilla. Cue the banana split—with a cherry on top.

KBS Asset Manager Dan Park explains, “Where spec suites are concerned, we took it up five notches and created really unique areas. We focus on high-end finishes to give our suites those contemporary, creative touches that are very attractive to tenants. And we’ve fully furnished them, as well, so they have a very cohesive look.”

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Now wait a second. Can we be more specific? What actually qualifies as a “high-end finish?” How about a conference room that converts into a more open space by making one wall a garage door. Press the button and the “wall” lifts out of the way. (Cue the oohs and aahs amongst the hipster crowd).

Another bit of “out of the box” thinking from KBS—spec suites on a grand scale. We’re talking big. I mean really BIG.

“In our larger size offices such as Chicago, we’ve got as much as 20,000 square feet for a spec suite. Typically, it goes from 5 to 10,000 sf. We’ve got 10, 15, all the way up to 20,000. That’s pretty hard to find,” explains Park.

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A great space with plenty of elbow room that makes any firm look good from the moment a prospective client walks in the door? Yes, please.

But the KBS spec suite philosophy goes even deeper than that. Employers are competing in a thriving economy for top talent. Office space can’t just check off the same old boxes. It must speak to a value that’s become more and more important to potential employees—quality of life.

“It’s all about space planning—whether we’re creating individual worker areas, gathering areas, or great collaborative spaces we’re really anticipating the needs of a modern office. A great design translates into a great environment and that’s how we’re helping our tenants recruit and retain the talent their businesses need.”

“Salary levels for employees have leveled off and reached an equilibrium,” notes Dan Park. “The other differentiator for employers is office space. A prospective employee looks at what sort of environment the employer is offering and asks themselves, ‘Does it make me want to work there instead?’ At KBS, our goal is to make the office space a huge asset to the employer in bringing in that top talent and retaining them.”