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Suburban parks competing with CBD space.

Suburban office parks offer a formidable alternative to standard downtown commercial leasing opportunities. Changing tenant needs coupled with technological improvements, for instance the fax machine and express mall, have reduced the attraction of many central business districts and placed them in direct competition with suburban areas.

The basic appeal of corporate parks remains as strong today as when they were first developed over two decades ago. Research tells us that over half of all businesses considering relocation prefer a campus setting to downtown and consider it one of the most important reasons to move to the suburbs.

Tenants want an easier commute for themselves and their employees, more office space for less money, and a healthier, less stressful work environment as opposed to overcrowded central business districts.

Low-rise buildings offer tenants a higher profile and stronger identity than do dense, high-rise towers, with fewer tenants per building and smaller floor plates that give each tenant greater corporate visibility. Many fire safety fears are allayed because low-rise properties offer easier access in and out.

The challenge of commercial leasing for the suburban office park is to maintain the high level of tenant and employee conveniences that are taken for granted in urban areas. Amenities must be added to reduce the isolation employees may feel suburban setting.

By providing strategic amenities ranging from dry cleaning to catering, owners can improve a park's overall atmosphere and significantly affect leasing activity.

EastRidge Properties, a 2 million-square-foot portfolio of 18 buildings in Westchester County, is utilizing the close proximity of its four office parks (all are located along a one mile stretch of I-287) to create a sense of community among all the parks' tenants.

Each of our tenants is entitled to use all of the EastRidge Properties' amenities regardless of where they are located in the portfolio. The portfolio's large tenant base makes it possible to offer tenants a number of programs and amenities that would not be cost effective within a single building.

Workers downtown, for example, usually have little problem obtaining items they may need during the course of the day. In the suburbs something as simple as ordering lunch can turn into a major ordeal, requiring workers to leave their offices and drive some distance to the nearest restaurant.

Careful attention must be paid to a corporate park's dining facilities to insure both variety and high quality food service. EastRidge's catering services and short-notice food delivery make it easier for tenants to hold breakfast and lunch meetings, host special events, or grab a quick bite without having to leave the site. Sundry shops give workers access to newspapers, snacks and personal items they may need during the day without having to leave the parks.

EastRidge Properties is committed to creating the most productive business environment in Westchester County. A keen interest in our tenants' businesses helps us see which services can help tenants attract and retain quality employees as well as lower their overhead.

For instance, EastRidge provides a free shuttle bus service to and from the White Plains Transit Center in order to help expand tenants' prospective employee pools to include workers who must rely on public transportation. A free lunchtime shuttle service lets workers go downtown without parking and traffic hassles.

An on-site Conference Center offers space for both larger meetings and small gatherings. The Conference Center effectively increases the size of a tenant's office without increasing their monthly rents.

When it comes to meeting a company's bottomline while providing the highest quality services, suburban office parks fit the bill. By understanding a tenant's changing needs and developing innovative amenities, owners can insure that corporate parks maintain their special appeal and meet current leasing challenges.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Hagedorn Publication
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Mid-Year Review & Forecast, Section IV; central business district
Author:Ziatyk, Michael J.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Column
Date:Jun 23, 1993
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