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Office parks get a millennial makeover
Eli Dile   on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

The office park is so passé.

As vacancy rates climb in some suburban markets, developers are renovating bland business parks to mimic a lively urban environment, adding dining, shopping, and in some cases housing options in an attempt to appeal to millennial workers. Taking to heart the news of General Electric’s relocation to Boston, McDonalds’ to Chicago, and Aetna’s to New York, developers are trying to preempt the flight of suburban-based companies back to the city by bringing the city to them.

Traditional office parks and corporate campuses were designed around the car, and optimized to keep workers isolated to maximize productivity. Recognizing that many young workers aren’t content to be cooped up in a suburban amenity desert, this new wave of denser, walkable business parks mean that workers don’t have to hop in a car just to get lunch. Below are several examples of this trend.

Edina, Minnesota: Pentagon Park is being renamed the Link and will embrace new urbanism design features. The developers will transform an adjacent golf course into a park and add bike paths that connect to existing trails (Star Tribune).

Plano, Texas: J.C. Penney’s sold and leased back its headquarters to allow for the addition of apartments, retail, and restaurants dubbed Legacy West (Wall Street Journal).

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: The progenitor of the suburban technology park is getting in on the trend too. In 2014, the RTP Foundation bought 400 acres of park property with the intention to build restaurants, shops, and housing (Indy Week).

Holmdel, New Jersey: The massive, two-million-square-foot property that once housed the revered Bell Labs is practically a city within itself. The newly named Bell Works includes office space, shopping, restaurants, coworking space, as well as townhouses and single-family homes on the property (Architect Magazine).

Image: Eric Sehr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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