COVID-19 has shown that many of us can work remotely, but the workplace remains a critical component of the ecosystem of any business. Many companies will continue to evolve their approach to working remotely and the way they use their spaces. In response, BENCH, Vancouver's newest commercial building, prioritizes health, safety and wellness for their employees while offering flexible short-term leases for companies looking for office space.
"The future of real estate is no longer about delivering four walls to occupiers of space," says Matt Carlson, Vice President, Colliers International. "Every employee - and their family - is concerned about safety and well-being in the workplace environment. For companies looking for space, it is about creating a unique, personalized and safe experience for their employees, one that also fosters meaningful interactions, collaboration, and productivity."
Colliers is working with Rendition Developments Inc. to showcase the recently completed BENCH Development at 353 Railway Street, which provides over 33,000 SF of retail, office and light industrial flex space over six levels. BENCH is the first new construction in historic Railtown's Design District in more than 50 years, and one of the first commercial buildings to open in Canada post-COVID-19. Finalizing construction during COVID-19 was a challenge, but also presented opportunities to deliver a dynamic environment for tech, creative and lifestyle companies looking for flexible leases and turnkey spaces.
"COVID-19 has caused a significant shift in preferences, and companies have prioritized health and wellness like never before," said Brian Roche, President at Rendition. "BENCH offers a safer and healthier environment relative to traditional office towers. High-quality air systems, high ceilings, and access to outdoor space is part of this. Private decks on every floor, operable windows, and smaller floorplates mean companies can have an entire floor in the building to accommodate safe social distancing and provide a more controlled environment for their employees." A private shuttle bus to transit is an option available to tenants.
Increased physical distancing and other new protocols will continue for the foreseeable future and impact employee safety, but community and collaboration remain essential for many businesses. Railtown is centrally located and offers a unique environment to fuel innovation, design and build creative, supportive communities. The flexible 1-4 Historical Industrial zoning provides an exceptional opportunity for creative, tech, design and fashion companies looking to situate their business in Vancouver's Innovation and Design District alongside other established brands. I-4 zoning can accommodate office and light industrial uses – including but not limited to SaaS, gaming, AI, and Fintech - design, digital production, and creative product manufacturing.
Appreciating that companies are reassessing their office space requirements and the flexibility of their lease agreements while they determine their short and long-term needs, BENCH offers flexible terms and options for dedicated move-in ready spaces.
"Traditional office lease terms normally range between five and ten years, but the modern landlord must be communicative and flexible, offering shorter terms as tenants figure out what their longer-term space needs will be," continued Carlson. "Rendition has reacted to market preference with flexible terms and turnkey delivery at BENCH. This is typically something that was only offered by coworking or subleases previously but is now available on a head lease basis, offering flexibility and choice to companies in a time of uncertainty."