The opportunity to advise several Foundations in their mission to collocate under one roof in a premises that promoted the above ideals, was exciting and innovative.
Our team has long been a believer that office space presents an opportunity for organizations to promote their identity, culture and purpose while boosting their sense of community and realizingincreased collaboration and productivity within the organization.
The forward-thinking clients had established a Vision for their premises that succinctly summarized the results that were being sought,
“A space that inspires a sense of community/family among the foundation partners and that facilitates organic encounters that enhance individual and collective impact further enhancing collaboration opportunities.”
Economics are always an important driver and at the outset of the project, the foundation partners were all occupying individual premises within a disparate set of buildings of different costs. In addition to the bottom line, we were managing expectations of multiple stakeholders that, at times, had different priorities. Ultimately, the group appointed a consolidated voice who would champion the group’s interests which provided for a single point of contact for our communications, which was beneficial to the process.
The foundation group had established several key criteria for their future premises, as follows:
A Space that:
- Maximizes productivity and ability for staff to generate impact in their work
- Facilitates the coming together of the communities that each foundation works in and supports
- Allows for both individual/private work and joint/collective work
For the development of an ‘ideas marketplace’
A final key piece was to ensure that while the group were to be sharing space, they individually wanted to retain their own identities and mandate. This was not to be a consolidation, but rather a sharing of premises, best practices, knowledge and community while retaining the individual nature and identity of each group under the shared roof.
The exciting project culminated with the leasing of premises formerly occupied by another foundation – a fitting and appropriate result. After an exhaustive search and review of the market, we were pleased to secure premises that were built-out to a level that provided a good starting point from which modifications to the existing improvements would be completed.
Premises in a built-out state did provide for financial relief as the ability to re-utilize and re-purpose existing improvements lessened the overall project costs. We were also able to negotiate the ownership of the existing furniture within the premises at no additional cost, further reducing project costs for the project stakeholders.
Ultimately, the premises is within a building meeting the qualitative and quantitative goals of the foundation partners, and has actually realized for several partners a reduction in their real estate costs. Featuring centrally located boardrooms coupled with a large kitchen and seating area, the space is ideally suited to facilitate the organic encounters and enhance the collective impact of the group that were key success criteria outlined from project outset. The location within a building on the subway provides for ease of access for each partner to their stakeholders, while also providing ease of access to the premises for staff, volunteers, and visitors.
We believe this to be a model for further collaborative projects among nonprofit organizations seeking to realize the benefits of knowledge transfer and collaboration while retaining the identity and mission encompassed within a real estate solution that is fiscally responsible.