Hybrid work is the buzz phrase right now in HR and recruiting. And of course, a lot of us are spending time working from home now but to employees, hybrid means they want flexibility in their schedule. Rather than a fixed schedule where it’s like, okay on these days you come into the office and these days you work from home, they want to be able to come and go when they want. Hiring talented people is very challenging right now in almost every industry. Much like in real estate, we have a sellers market for job seekers and employers are finding that they need to step up their game in order to attract top talent and that means to provide the right work environment. People in the workforce now are expecting to be treated like adults who are capable of making good decisions about when they need to be in the office and when they can get more done at home or from another remote location. Top companies, those are the ones that win awards for best places to work and things like that, they realize that a good hire is going to thrive with this flexibility and that that’s the person that they want to hire for the growth of their company. If you’re interested in investing or building, developing for yourself, even if it’s in a small way, it’s really important to understand the deeper trends that are driving the market. And just like in trading stocks or anything else, profits are made by riding that wave of the trend and that’s the way you do it.
You know since the pandemic, we hear a lot about Hybrid Working, but I find that a lot of people, and I mean even real estate people here in Chicago aren’t really aware, that this hybrid work model has already been driving huge changes in the office market here for a few years. In the past , when we think of downtown offices it’s always been high rises in the loop, but with hybrid working, people need to be able to come and go easily, to and from work, at any time of day and they don’t want to have to fight their way into the loop. Now Chicago is turning into and important hub for Venture capital startups and tech businesses, but of course just about every business today needs to be a tech business, right? Young people are getting high paying jobs and they want a cool place to live that’s near work, friends and social activities. Most aren’t interested in owning cars and they need to be able to get back and forth easily by walking, bike or Uber. These are the people who are renting all these cool, new construction high rises, that we see going up all around us and these new buildings have great amenities to help make it easy and convenient for residents to work from home. Now of course if you live in a cool new place with all the latest high tech amenities, you’re naturally going to expect your workplace to offer the same. Smart companies know they have to stay out in front of this and position themselves to attract top talent and real estate developers are helping them do that by putting up some really awesome new office projects. So It’s about “Work Near Where you Live!” and the West Loop and Fulton market areas are where you see some great new office developments going up right alongside all the the new residential projects. Take a look at this article from Curbed Chicago. On their map they are showing 58 office and residential developments now under way in the West loop and Fulton Market Districts. Some are still up for approval, but most are already approved and under construction. You can scroll through to read about each of them. First is Focus Development and Shapack Partners 167 N Green. This is a great looking office project that is located right across the street from the Parker which is this residential building that they finished recently. We see quite a bit of this in Fulton market where a developer will put up both office and residential projects adjacent, or near one another. Most of these office projects include a lot of new amenities like sidewalk galleries where pedestrians have a covered walkway, touch-less entry paths, bike rooms on the ground floor, gyms, cafe’s with space to relax and collaborate, meeting rooms and easily accessible outdoor space. They are designed for high connectivity and with high tech ventilation and air filtration systems. Many also have attractive retail / restaurant components on the ground floor or maybe a mezzanine level with outdoor space. If you haven’t been through the West Loop or Fulton Market lately, take a ride one afternoon and check it outl!