The Problems With Density and Multilevel Creative Office Buildings

New problems are arising with our mutli-level creative office warehouse conversions in San Francisco. Originally, these buildings were built for 3 or 4 people per 1000 square feet.  But, venture backed tech companies have pushed the current density to 9 and 10 people per 1000 square feet.  Luckily, because of great transit, San Francisco is not suffering from parking problems created by such density in Los Angeles.

However, some of the problems we face due to the new “collaborative densities” include the following:

  1.  Wear and Tear: the common areas are getting trampled. Repair, replacement and refurbishment will now be more frequent.
  2. Elevator: one elevator for 40,000 square feet and four or five floors–you can imagine the demand and wait times with ten people per 1000 square feet.  The elevator systems will need to be upgraded for better control and response times.
  3. Bathrooms: first, you need more toilet paper and paper towels. Forget the paper, you need more toilets and sinks. Maybe a bathroom reservation app is next.
  4. Stairwells: the stairwells are becoming more important. In San Francisco, people will use the stairs. Your stairwells become an important common area feature and method of access. The stairwells need to look good and be well lit. If you have a tenant on two floors without an internal stairwell, you need to deal with security from the stairwell and fire issues.
  5. Security:  With smaller creative buildings, you do not have a security guard.  Electronic security is very important.  You need sophisticated control access at as many points as possible: lobby doors, elevator access, and suite access. Fobs are popular. Crime is on the rise, especially grab and runs. Tenants are more sensitive and aware of burglary risk–especially after an incident.

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