Office tenants, especially in digital technology, continue to fit more people into the same amount of space. Open floor plans and higher ceilings support this greater density. In Los Angeles, workers drive to work and parking is limited. The normal office building has three parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of office space. All the while, office density is growing to five users per 1,000 square feet and greater. Companies want to supply parking for their employees. They don’t want to force their employees to carpool, have to take transit, walk more than very short distances to park, or have to ride a shuttle. This reality is hard on planners. It will be a good idea to begin to introduce the Los Angeles creative work force to these alternative methods. The reality is that brokers and tenants are requesting additional onsite parking more frequently. Densities are continuing to go up and building owners, brokers, and companies need to deal with issue.
Some may argue that office space in West Los Angeles has become too plentiful. Soft markets, when there is an excess of supply over demand, occur about 80% of the time. Conversely, tight markets occur about 20% of the time. Los Angeles brokers and building owners have to face the reality that demand has been decreasing over the last two decades. This industry is very mature, and it may be time for a change. As this article from CoStar Group points out, one of the changes that should be made in office design is to accommodate the needs of the next workforce generation. Unfortunately, the next generation demands less, not more, office space per employee.
To add value to their properties, Westside Los Angeles office owners will need to design spaces that operate with greater efficiency. They will also have to account for greater densities of employees in these spaces. These two tasks need to be accomplished simultaneously while continuing to foster an interesting and creative atmosphere. These environments will further promote collaboration and will have a positive effect on employees rather than sticking them in cubicle farms.
The Westside does not need more space, but simply better quality of space. Despite a 20% vacancy rate in Playa Vista, developers are planning to bring on another million square feet of office space in the next couple of years. If the future workforce demands less space, one may question why this is being planned. Investors, developers and owners have to ask themselves if they are meeting a tenant demand or investor demand.