Special Treatment: Property Management Firms Cater to Tenants' Wish Lists with Amenities in Name of Retention and Attracting Clients

Article excerpt

Office managers at 190 South LaSalle in Chicago can cross the holiday office party headaches off their list. A full-time, lobby-located concierge will act as event manager and arrange all the time-consuming details like catering, location, entertainment and sound systems.

The concierge is just one perk under the expansive umbrella of services Jones Lang LaSalle offers its tenants. Mark W. Collins, senior vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle, said tenant amenities, whether part of building operating expenses or reimbursable services, are geared toward attracting and retaining tenants.

"The market is responding to companies that demand that different level of service," he said.

Approaching innovative amenities

Does your building allow you to plug and play? SENTRE Partners' 600,000 square foot One America Plaza in San Diego does. It has a fiber optic backbone architecture providing a building network in the city's largest high rise.

Matt Spathas, CEO of Bandwidth Now and a partner at SENTRE Partners, described the network as "the next generation workplace." Installation costs range from $1 to $1.25 per square foot, including equipment. The fiber optic core offers four benefits--aggregated bandwidth, automated Internet technology, integrated building systems and wireless Internet (WiFi) capability.

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One America Plaza's aggregated bandwidth is at least five times faster than traditional T-1 access. Rather than enlist individual Internet providers, tenants can pay $250 per month to Bandwidth Now for such services. Tenants save approximately $500 to $1,000 per month compared to typical Internet providers, Spathas said.

The optical network allows Internet protocol for potentially every product in the building. Any item assigned an Intenet protocol address, courtesy of a microchip, is Web-enabled for tracking and management via internet.

For example, Philips is introducing the first Internet protocol light bulbs in Asia, allowing owners to know exactly when a light bulb will expire, rather than tenants reporting burnedout bulbs.

Protocol telephones provide another illustration. The landlord of the future may simply hand tenants a set of wireless telephones featuring a multitude of web-enabled tools including 'find me, follow me' technology, allowing a telephone call to be routed to a variety of locations.

Spathas said WiFi enablement allows Internet access "like a drinking fountain," meaning it is ubiquitous throughout the building. Tenants and visitors no longer need to open computers, type in passwords and log on the Internet. While WiFi is becoming more popular for the common areas of some buildings, Spathas said One America Plaza is truly innovative, with its 100 percent building-wide WiFi.

Spathas expects the future real estate industry to treat aggregate bandwidth like a fourth utility akin to water, gas and electricity. He likened the technology-shy real estate industry to past innovations, when "kerosene probably lost some guys to electricity."

Your own exclusive club

Fodor's travel guide describes 190 South LaSalle in Chicago as a tourist must-see. Designed by John Burgee and Phillip Johnson in the mid-1980s, the post modern building touts a spectacular gold leaf vaulted lobby, according to the guide.

The 800,000 square-foot high-rise competes with new construction by offering luxurious venues like its former library atop the 40-story building. The 6,500 square-foot space, with its peaked roof and expensive finishes is being renovated as an eating, drinking and social club for tenants. The space will provide a bar, catering services and 150 banquet seats. Books will remain in the space to keep its ivy league feel, said Brooke Filkins, vice president of public relations at Jones Lang LaSalle. The no-cash club will bill members via a club card tied to a personal credit card. …

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