Innovative Office Space Article

More New York Companies Experiment With Innovative Office Space

The following article/story appeared in the Wall Street Journal by Kevin Hagen on July 7, 2014 and was written/reported by Keiko Morris:

Rachana Gheewala works from an easy chair in the new activity-based office of Gerson Lehrman Group.
Alexander Saint-Amand admits he used his old desk to store his stuff: extra neckties, books and water bottles.
As of last week, that became impossible because Mr. Saint-Amand no longer has a permanent desk at Gerson Lehrman Group Inc., the company he leads as chief executive.
Like everyone else in the 250-person office, Mr. Saint-Amand is now assigned only a laptop, a headset and a locker.
GLG’s new office design offers an array of workspaces—from comfortable couches to high stools at a barista-staffed coffee bar to single-occupancy glass booths.
“Something funny about having a lot of stuff is it makes you feel like you’re doing something,” said Mr. Saint-Amand, whose company helps other firms learn about business issues by matching them with experts. “But when you don’t have all that stuff, it frees you up to actually concentrate and work.”
GLG workers will have so-called neighborhoods, areas where their teams are based. But they are free to find a spot to work anywhere on the company’s two floors at One Grand Central Place. In the world of office design, the new layout at GLG is known as activity-based working.
A barista makes drinks at Gerson Lehrman Group, which has adopted a work-space model without permanent seat assignments.
Doing away with seating assignments for an office as large as GLG’s in New York is rare but increasing, said John Arenas, chief executive officer of Serendipity Labs Inc., a company that provides temporary work and meeting spaces for mobile workers.
Companies such as Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.50% , PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Accenture have been experimenting with variations on unassigned seating since the 1990s and early 2000s. The Macquarie Group MQG.AU -0.94% drew much attention in 2009 when it instituted an activity-based working concept at one of its offices, for 3,000 workers, in Sydney, Australia.
Last year, real estate services company CBRE Group Inc. CBG +0.16% brought its version of the office design to its Los Angeles operation. CBRE said it planned to have the system in 21 of its offices by year’s end.
“When we actually looked at what they needed, they needed much more choice, the ability to make good decisions about getting their work done,” said Lenny Beaudoin, CBRE senior managing director of workplace strategy.
Offices designed around activity-based working save space, so they appeal to companies determined to shave real estate costs. CBRE’s new Los Angeles office will be able to accommodate 250 people in 48,000 square feet, compared with 210 people in the 72,000 square feet the company would have needed in the old office format. Companies also see the layouts as recruitment tools to attract younger workers who are accustomed to mobile technology.
“Office workers are really only at their desks 40% of the time,” said Bernice Boucher, a managing director at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., JLL +0.09% a real estate services firm. “We have known this for decades, which is why everyone talks about desk sharing…free-seating and telecommuting.”
The wide options under activity-based working also give some employees private space they didn’t have.
“Quiet people are reminding people that it’s not just about collaboration, but concentration,” said Elizabeth Burow, director of discovery for design firm HLW International LLP.
But eliminating the private office or the private desk isn’t for everyone, said Richard Sennett, a sociology professor at New York University and the London School of Economics.
“Sometimes having a space you control, which is yours, gives people the feeling of empowerment and it can be good,” he said. “But it varies.”
GLG’s new office is 65,000 square feet, almost double its old quarters on Third Avenue. It is now in a building owned by Empire Realty Trust Inc. across the street from Grand Central Terminal.
Mr. Saint-Amand said the bigger space would allow GLG to host thousands of meetings between its network of prominent industry experts and business professionals—instead of convening them off-site as they did previously.
Natural light spills from a new skylight over a white staircase that descends into a cluster of red couches and white tables. It is a work area that resembles a sleek living room. Elsewhere are open bench tables with monitors and glass-walled meeting rooms named after influential thinkers, including Indira Gandhi, Thomas Hobbes, Winston Churchill and Thomas Jefferson.
“We want you to feel like you own the whole office not just your desk,” said Clive Wilkinson, whose firm, Clive Wilkinson Architects, designed GLG’s space. He was also the architect of the Macquarie Group’s activity-based office in Australia.”That’s a landmark change because employees typically are kept in their place and told, if you’re incredibly lucky you might get an office some day.”
GLG’s workers seemed to be adapting. Workers already had collectively dubbed the small private spaces with tall cylindrical walls as the “submarine.” And the small glass booths had come in handy for sales pitches.
Jim Sharpe, head of GLG’s North American financial services group, said he had already used eight work spaces at the new office by the second day.
He ate breakfast at the coffee bar and had meetings with co-workers in one of the diner-like booths—as well as in the Keynes room.
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Understanding the Good Guy Clause and NYC Office Leases

Inviting workspaces

Do you have questions about the Good Guy Clause? The GGC is an important part of Manhattan commercial lease negotiations.

Thomas Murtha, Partner at Capstone Realty, defines the GGC in informative detail and discusses how it can benefit both the tenant and the landlord.

What is the Good Guy Clause?

The purpose of the Good Guy Clause (GGC) is to help landlords avoid a lengthy and costly eviction process in the event that a tenant has ceased to pay rent, and to help tenants limit the amount of security deposit. The GGC is also known as “Good Guy Guarantee,” “Limited Personal Guarantee,” or simply “Guarantee.”

Although the language will vary from one GGC to another, the following requirements are typically found therein:

  1. Tenant must give notification to the landlord (notification period varies – typically three to six months)
  2. Tenant must deliver keys of the demised premises to the landlord or managing agent and surrender the demised premises to the landlord in broom clean condition and free of all subleases or licensees.
  3. Tenant must be up to date with all amounts due and payable under the lease as base rent or additional rent or other such charges.

THE SPIRIT OF THE GOOD GUY CLAUSE

The spirit of the Good Guy Clause is a Personal Guaranty from either the principal or officer of the corporate entity that signs the lease, thereby making him/her personally liable for the rent while the corporate entity occupies the space. In the event the tenant ceases to pay rent, for whatever reason, the tenant will be a “good guy” and will vacate the premises, effectively ending the personal liability.

The majority of landlords in Manhattan require a Good Guy Clause to be signed and will typically perform a credit check on the individual(s) that intends to sign the clause. The most important thing to do prior to signing the GGC is to make sure there is no “long tail” attached to it. Tenants must ensure that the Personal Guaranty terminates as soon as the demised premises are surrendered / returned to the landlord. Tenants also must be hyperaware of the notice period required to activate the rights of the GGC. For instance, some landlords will require that tenants give six months’ notice prior to exercising the Good Guy Clause. As a tenant, you ideally want to trim this notice period down to three months or less.

IN THE EVENT YOU DECIDE TO SELL YOUR BUSINESS

It is also important to ask for language to be inserted into the Good Guy Clause in the event you decide to sell your business. It seems the majority of business owners that I work with do not have an exit strategy in place with regards to the lease or an intention to sell their business any time soon, however, it is important to have the proper lease and GGC language in place in case the long term goals of the company change. Most landlords are fine with inserting language that states tenants have the right to transfer the Good Guy Clause to another individual of the same financial strength in the event the business is sold.

A majority of the office leases in Manhattan contain a Good Guy Clause.

WHEN THE GOOD GUY CLAUSE IS NOT SIGNED

In the instances where a Good Guy Clause is not signed:

  1. The principal of the corporate entity is not a U.S. citizen.
  2. The company is publically traded.
  3. The landlord does not require a GGC to be signed.
  4. The principal absolutely refused to sign the GGC, and in exchange, a higher security deposit is the result.

If you have questions about the GGC and the commercial real estate industry, then just ask us. Thomas Murtha will answer any questions that you may have. You can visit the GGC website and submit your inquiries.

http://goodguyclause.com/

View Beautiful Showroom Spaces in Manhattan

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Capstone Realty Advisors announces the launch of its new showroom website at http://www.nycshowroomspace.com/

If you are looking for a showroom, we will help you find a space that matches the creative vision of your business.

These showrooms offer you many advantages, including:

  • Prime locations in Manhattan
  • Creative and inspiring environments
  • Abundant natural light
  • Skylights, exposed brick, hardwood floors, high-end glass partitions, and lighting fixtures
  • Fall within your budget guidelines
  • Favorable lease terms that fall within your growth or exit strategy

To find your showroom, please contact us today for a free consultation with one of our agents.

For more information, please contact us at:

Joe McLaughlin

Tel: 212-239-8400

Email: jmclaughlin@capstoneny.com

Peter Gordon

Tel: 917.243.4228

Email: pgordon@capstoneny.com

To view some beautiful showroom spaces, please visit our website at:

http://www.nycshowroomspace.com/

A Day in the Life of a NYC Commercial Real Estate Agent

Jarad Winter (427x640) (285x403)Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a commercial real estate agent in NYC? Jarad Winter, Associate Director at Capstone Realty Advisors, gives the lowdown on his life as a commercial real estate agent in one of the most competitive industries. Jarad’s no-holds-barred perspective uses wit and candor, as he takes us behind the scenes.

A day in the life of a NYC commercial real estate agent is an adrenaline rush. Here’s why.

I am approaching my third year in the business. The past three years have been like a roller coaster ride. It all began on my first day as a commercial real estate agent at Capstone Realty Advisors. Managing Partner and Founder, Joseph McLaughlin, gave me some advice on how to navigate the ups and downs of life as a NYC commercial real estate agent.

According to Joseph, succeeding as a commercial real estate agent requires perseverance, above anything else. One minute, you will be ecstatic because you just received a great phone call or email that gets you that much closer to completing a transaction.  The next moment, you will be incredibly disappointed about that phone call or email that has just delivered bad news.

Joseph’s words of advice were true to form. Being a commercial real estate agent has brought both challenges and rewards. But, that’s what makes it exciting. Its high moments, low moments, and everything in between – they’re all a part of my life at the Capstone office. And, I would have it no other way.

Diamond

The alarm goes off once, twice if I hit the snooze button, its loud beeping announcing another workday. There are many mornings when I wish I were more like the late Steve Jobs, who decided that he would only wear black turtlenecks and blue jeans to work. Smart man – by limiting his clothing options, he had one less decision to make during the day. If I showed up at the office in the same suit, shirt, tie, and shoes every single day, my fashionable colleagues would call me out on my “wear, wash and repeat” style.  Oh well, maybe in my next life.

While I walk to the Astoria Ditmars subway stop, I contemplate what I need to accomplish that particular day. It’s a time to multi-task, as I respond to emails using my iPhone. I continue to answer emails as I sit down on the N or Q train and begin the journey into Manhattan. Upon arriving at 34th Street Herald Square, I get out of the train and join the throng of New Yorkers on the streets of midtown Manhattan.

First things first, I immediately head to the deli to buy my morning coffee. That caffeine fix is my saving grace in the mornings. Armed with my cup of coffee, I walk into the Capstone office like a MLB player stepping onto the grass at the Yankee Stadium. It’s game time.

At my computer, I browse the new listings on CoStar with anticipation, hoping that the one space I’ve had my eye on has finally hit the market. I check my email again. Already, a handful of emails have seeped into my inbox. After promptly replying to the emails, I place 3-4 phone calls. Usually, the calls involve speaking with a client to confirm an appointment or discussing an offer with a building agent.

As the morning progresses, I open up my ACT! Database and perform my daily ritual of following up with clients. It’s a simple, yet important, step that involves checking in on clients, even if it’s to say a quick hello. Following up is essential to success as a commercial real estate agent. After all, it is better to be overly keen than not keen enough.

Since no two days are alike in this business, every morning is different. I usually start with an office space tour. I enjoy going on tours; they indicate that a client has placed their trust in me to find the best office space for their business. It’s a turning point in my business partnership with the client.

If I don’t have a tour planned, I canvass consistently. Cold calling and email blasts are a part of my canvassing strategies. By casting my net wide, I gather a few leads each day.

By the afternoon, I’ve literally worked up an appetite. I always try to eat a relatively healthy lunch, but hot and humid summer days call for a more hearty meal. For instance, after I go on a tour in 95 degree heat with 80% humidity, I’ll refuel by indulging in a large Italian Hero with hot peppers.

As I ramp up for the afternoon, I venture out to preview office spaces. Basically, previewing is researching. It involves taking photos of office spaces, jotting down notes of its features (natural light, anyone?), and drawing up detailed floor plans. After previewing an office, I am able to give my clients a first-hand perspective of the space, rather than simply spouting out facts and data that I read on CoStar. Clients always appreciate a “virtual” tour of an office space before they see it for themselves.

As the day draws to a close, I create a list of tasks for the following day.  Always looking ahead and having a proactive mindset is essential to survival in the industry. A commercial real estate agent should always think, ‘Ok, now what is the next step.’  In acronym speak, ATF (always thinking forward).

In this business, you have to roll with the punches. Some days are more hectic and stressful, while others bring a smile to my face. However, I enjoy facing the challenges. They make me a tougher and more resilient agent. After a day of bad news, I approach the following day with renewed vigor. I view every moment as an opportunity to maximize my potential as a commercial real estate agent.

As I’ve already mentioned, being a NYC commercial real estate agent is like riding a roller coaster. Even though it has its ups and downs, I enjoy every single moment of thrill.

Do you have questions or thoughts about the life of a NYC commercial real estate agent? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment. 

Showing an Office Space Through Photos and Images

Photos grab attention and words sustain it

In commercial real estate, is a picture really worth a thousand words? When you want to sell or lease an office space, there are many reasons why you should capture the office through the lens.

Since people are visual creatures, images can be powerful – they evoke a certain emotion or mood within us. They also allow us to make sense of something and to understand it in a way that words can’t describe. Studies have proven that even color can arouse emotion and cause people to respond in certain ways. It’s no surprise that the body and mind are inextricably linked.

Photos also lend credibility and value to your claims. For instance, they provide evidence that the office is sun drenched, with tremendous views and gleaming hardwood floors. Ultimately, that’s what you want: for people to believe what you say. Clever catchphrases are a moot point without the supporting evidence.

Since photos clearly are the sustenance of commercial real estate, here are some tips on how to best represent and showcase your office space.

Take Wide-Angle Shots

Wide angle shots are the best way to feature open space in an office. For some industries, open space is the holy grail of office design. Many creative businesses are opting for open layouts to encourage collaboration and the exchange of ideas. A wide angle shot can really do justice to wide open space.

Emphasize Ceiling Height

Many business owners covet high ceilings in an office. To emphasize the ceiling’s height, hold the camera vertically when taking the photo. Doing so will give the viewer an accurate perspective of those lofty ceilings.

Feature the Building’s Exterior and Neighborhood

If an office is in an attractive or architecturally-unique building, why not make that a focus? I always appreciate when listings feature photos of the building’s amenities or even the neighborhood itself. Such photos can really give you a better idea of what it would be like to work there.

Don’t Forget the Office Views

Think “outside of the office” and look out the windows. Do you see an expanse of cityscape? Perhaps, there’s a landmark building just a stone’s throw away. Capture a shot of the views if they are pleasing to the eye. People enjoy working next to a backdrop of inspiring views. A glance at that picturesque scene can be motivating after hours of staring at a computer screen.

Take Panoramic Shots

The panorama feature is a blessing to real estate photography. Panoramas are relatively simple to create. Just take a few photos and combine them by using a basic stitching program. Panoramic shots add flair to a listing and give an alluring, three-dimensional appearance to an image. They draw in the viewer, making them feel as if they’re looking at the office space itself.

Use Strategy

Before you even begin to snap the camera button, take a mental snapshot first. Ask yourself which qualities you want to emphasize. Will it be its natural light, large windows, or long wall of exposed brick? Focus on its assets and keep in mind that you want your photos to leave an impression.

When I take photos of commercial real estate, it’s a unique experience every time. Each space has its own character and ambiance. Plus, there’s something satisfying about seeing an office space displayed in resplendent detail through photos.

Are you an office space shutterbug? Please share your own tips and suggestions with us by leaving a comment below.

Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Photo Courtesy of PhotoPinBusiness owners who are looking for office space, this post will help you with your search. Perhaps, you are now looking for a commercial real estate agent, and have hopped online to see what options the search engines will churn up for you. You type in commercial real estate agent, your location, and voila – a long list of commercial real estate agents appears before you.

So, where should you begin? How do you narrow down these options to find the commercial real estate agent who will be best for your business? After all, you want to find an agent who will make the process as seamless as possible.

Fortunately, there are many resources to help you during your search. There are well-known commercial real estate websites that deliver quality advice. They even offer real estate search engines to fine-tune your search. Just simply type in your requirements and allow the search engines to work their magic.

However, one of the best ways to find a commercial real estate agent is through word of mouth and referrals. Ask your fellow business associates who they used for their commercial real estate agent. Testimonials from trusted sources can provide invaluable insight and perspective.

Now, it’s time to narrow down these options even further to find the top candidate. Do some detective’s work by asking the agents several key questions.

Here are some important questions to ask:

How many years have you been a commercial real estate agent?

Naturally, you may want to hire a seasoned real estate agent who knows the ins and outs of the industry. Experienced agents have weathered the commercial real estate market’s ups and downs, and have proven their resilience.

Even though experienced agents certainly have an allure, don’t turn away an agent who is just getting their feet wet. You could benefit from a new commercial real estate agent’s keen and enthusiastic approach, and who hits the ground running.

Do you specialize in a particular industry?

Find a commercial real estate agent who specializes in your business’s industry. For instance, does your business sell computer hardware? If so, then, an agent who works for clients in the tech industry would be right for your business.

Tell me about the most memorable deal that you have closed.

Every commercial real estate agent has those deals that become defining moments in their careers. Ask why this particular deal resonates with them.

What sets you apart from other commercial real estate agents?

The effective commercial real estate agent has a promise, a shtick that sets them apart from the rest. Find out what defining quality they will bring forth to the table (so to speak). Will it be their experience and long-standing track record of proven results? Or, their boutique approach of working with you one-on-one? An agent should bring you their own unique professional style and approach.

Do you have an updated license?

Practicing commercial real estate agents are required to have a license from the real estate branch of their state’s Department of Licensing services. They must also routinely renew their license to keep their knowledge fresh.

Can you tell me more about the neighborhoods you represent?

Your commercial real estate agent should give you the lowdown on the neighborhoods that they represent. Forget about the guidebooks; your agent will loop you in on what’s hot in the area, from the main attractions to the hidden delights.

What are the current trends in the commercial real estate market?

The way the commercial real estate agent answers this question will clue you in on whether they keep informed. The successful commercial real estate agent consistently researches and combs the news. They are plugged into the pulse of the commercial real estate market, and leverage their knowledge on your behalf.

You and your commercial real estate agent will forge a business partnership. The above questions will help you find the agent who pulls out all the stops for their clients – someone who will work for, and with, you to find the best office for your business.

How to Succeed as a Commercial Real Estate Agent

As a burgeoning commercial real estate agent, you might wonder what it takes to become a successful commercial real estate agent. How does one become a leader and go-to source in the industry?

The honeymoon stage of your real estate career is a crucial one, laying the groundwork for your future in the industry. Not only will you learn the nuts and bolts of commercial real estate, but you will also develop your own unique professional style. It’s a time to experiment and to hone your technique, to see what works for you and what doesn’t.

There is no magic formula that guarantees success in commercial real estate. However, the successful real estate agent demonstrates specific qualities that set them apart from their peers.

Honesty and integrity

First and foremost, a successful commercial real estate agent has integrity. Rightfully, clients want an agent whom they can trust. They want to know that their agent will be working for and with them. A commercial real estate agent must always approach their job with an unwavering code of business ethics and professionalism. In fact, honesty and integrity should be a given for every agent, not just successful agents.

Proactive and knowledgeable

The successful commercial real estate agent is proactive. They realize that listings come and go, and act fast to navigate the ever-shifting market. Furthermore, they are experts within their niche. They consistently comb the news to keep informed about inventory, industry trends, and market forecasts. If their clients have questions, they have the answers.

Proficient with technology

When a client searches for a commercial real estate agent, they usually begin with the Internet to scope out the options. The successful real estate agent realizes this and harnesses the power of the Internet to showcase their services. They effectively use media to clearly communicate how they can help prospective clients.

Mobile technology is also seeing a rapid rise in commercial real estate. People are now using their phones to conduct online searches, access listings, and to communicate. With the world becoming an ever mobile place, the cell phone is taking center stage in commercial real estate.

Knows the neighborhood they represent

When a business owner searches for an office space, they are also looking for a neighborhood that will allow their business to thrive. Certain neighborhoods tend to attract certain industries. For instance, the Midtown South area of New York City is a mecca for creative businesses. Meanwhile, businesses in the financial services industry gravitate towards Wall Street, appropriately dubbed the Financial District.

As a commercial real estate agent, you should become familiar with the neighborhood(s) that you represent. Check out the surrounding attractions, happy-hour hangouts, and travel accommodations.  If you prove yourself as a community expert, your clients will appreciate your authority on the area.

Additionally, it’s important to form a strong, supportive anchor of contacts in your community. In a professional network, every contact counts. By networking effectively, you will establish your credibility in the commercial real estate industry and even get referrals to your services.

Never complacent

Lastly, the successful real estate agent understands that their career is always a work in progress. Even at the pinnacle of their career, they never become complacent. Momentum in commercial real estate depends upon your own mindset. If you always try to improve, you will move forward in your commercial real estate career.