Are Suburban Offices Making a Comeback?

Are Suburban Offices Making a Comeback?

It wasn’t long ago that trend spotters were declaring the suburban office park of late-20th-century fame dead and gone. With talent, especially millennial talent, more concentrated in urban centers and less willing to move out of them for job opportunities, suburban corporate campuses are increasingly considered obsolete. This trend was reflected in some high-profile relocations of corporate headquarters last year, such as GE’s move from Fairfield, Connecticut to downtown Boston and McDonald’s move from Oak Brook, Illinois, to central Chicago.

But don’t write off the suburbs just yet, Patrick Clark and Rebecca Greenfield write for Bloomberg. As those millennials get older and look to settle down and start families, jobs in the suburbs are becoming cool again—as long as they maintain some of what this generation values most about city life, like walkability and public transit:

Fresh college graduates might be attracted to downtown bars and carless commutes, but these days, for older millennials starting families and taking out mortgages, a job in the suburbs has its own appeal. “What people find is that the city offers a high quality of life at the income extremes,” says Lamphere, who is chief executive of Van Vlissingen & Co., a real-estate developer based in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnshire, Ill. “The city is a difficult place for the average working family.”

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Office Parks Have Problems Beyond Millennials

Office Parks Have Problems Beyond Millennials

The suburban office park, of the type popularized in the 1980s and ’90s and the subject of many an office comedy ever since, is the latest alleged victim of the millennials, Business Insider’s Chris Weller reports, as companies find they can’t entice younger employees to live in a suburban environment like they could a generation ago:

“Companies want to move to areas where millennials are located,” Robert Bach, director of research at the real-estate advisory firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, tells Business Insider. In 2015, Bach’s firm published a report on the state of office parks around the US. It concluded that between 14% and 22% of the “suburban inventory” in the country faced a degree of risk in becoming obsolete. Some parks needed only a cosmetic changes, while those beyond help were suited for rebuilds.

The report found that two main factors could predict that level of obsolescence: proximity to mass transit and access to amenities like lunch and shopping. Bach says it’s no coincidence that fitness-focused and food-savvy millennials share those preferences. …

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