The right work environment makes all the difference. Google, regularly voted the best company to work for in America, seeks to create the perfect work environment.
Google’s goal (try saying that 5x fast) is to create the healthiest work environments possible so Google masterminds can thrive and innovate. From concept through design, construction and operations, the search engine’s goal is to create a brick + mortar workplace that optimizing access to nature, clean air and daylight.
To keep the Google brain trust at peak performance, they avoid materials that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other known toxins that may harm human health. Furniture, carpet, flooring, toilets > all green, and augmented by dual stage air filtration systems to eliminate plankton-like particles and remaining VOCs, further augmenting indoor air quality. Or, they could Additionally, the location is so fine, they cay just open the west facing windows and let the ocean breeze come rolling through, as it does from 10:30 a.m. – sunset on all days except for Santa Ana conditions.
Savvy entrepreneurs looking for office space will ask….
1. Is there room for my company to grow?
If your business is not in the position to take extra space for future growth, try negotiating a shorter lease term or add language to the lease that gives you the first right of negotiation on any adjacent space that becomes vacant.
2. Is it the right location for my key employees?
Be green in commuting. Consider where your key employees live and whether the location is convenient for them. Make them sit too long in traffic, or pick a site away from mass transit and employees will be more likely to jump ship to a business that’s more convenient for them.
3. Is the location convenient for clients?
You also want your office to be accessible to clients. If you’re located in downtown Santa Monica, your clients are going to be sitting in long lines of traffic, and you’re going to be paying a lot of additional parking costs…unless you plan on being walking distance from an Expo line stop. Be easy to find. Make it too difficult for clients to get there and they will go elsewhere. If you leave an urban location for a cheaper space in the suburbs, consider whether the lower expenses will make up for the possible loss of clients. Even in the age of video conferencing and Skype, it’s important that face-to-face meetings be manageable.
4. Does this office send the right signal?
Think about the message you want to give to your clients when you select your location. Google’s Venice offices – green, innovative, in an ultra hip location blocks from the beach – très cutting edge. In the new millennium, an office space is far more than a collection of cubicles; it also will be a sign to others of how much money you’re making. “I’ve seen companies spend for a lavish space they’re very proud of. They invite clients to see it, and the clients wonder if they’re paying them too much for their services,” Riguardi says. On the other hand, if you don’t spend enough, people may wonder about the financial health of your company.
5. Do you need to be green?
Progressive companies are concerned about the environment. Having a “green” office rates well with clients. Green doesn’t mean it has to be LEED platinum, green touches can be as simple as putting the lighting and air conditioning on timers so that energy isn’t wasted when offices are vacant. An office with a light-colored roof can cut back utility costs by as much as 30% in SoCal.
6. What are possible hidden costs? Calculate the full cost of the space–rent, utilities, construction costs, moving expenses, CAM fees, NNN fees, insurance and other costs that may not be obvious. “You have to look at the costs associated with the move, even restoration of the space you’re moving from,” Riguardi recommends.
We live in L.A.; we know how precious parking can be. Depending upon your location, parking can be a hidden cost. Even new Culver City office spaces are adding in $75+ per month per car. Consider the amount of parking available at your proposed location, as well as the potential cost to employees and customers. If parking is tight, is there a place where employees can park so customers get the most convenient spaces? Negotiating special employee rates and validating customers’ parking tickets are good ideas, but they need to be worked into the budget.
8. Is the office ADA compliant?
In our progressive times, you need to consider how your space works for handicapped individuals. Check to see that the building is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, the law states that doors to office suites should be at least 32 inches wide and require fewer than five pounds of force to open, while carpeting in areas open to the public must be secured to the floor with a pile of less than half an inch. You can learn something new every day.
9. Consider sharing an office.
Sharing space with another company saves money not only on the office rent, but also on the cost of common areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Plus, the fact that you’re being ultra-efficient makes you seem greener. To best benefit the shared space, it’s ideal to divide the space with complementary businesses > an architect with a builder or a PR firm with a Web designer. Draw up a formal agreement between tenants. This agreement can be flexible.
If you hope to sell your company, make sure the lease is clear about owner responsibility. Some leases are written so that the original company and its owners have liability in the future should the future tenant not perform.
11. Pay attention to the terms of renewal.
The last thing you want is to get established in a space, then find at the end of your lease that your landlord is exercising their option to rent the space to someone else or to drastically raise your rents. Although rental rates are usually negotiated at the time of renewal, you also can try in the original contract to cap any increase at no more than 5%. “Real estate is rebounding in many areas, which means rental rates are rising,” concludes Julie Clark, a founder of SharedBusinessSpace.com, a national online directory. “If you can control how much, it’s a stick in your court.”
We know all about Los Angeles office space, and can assist you in your office needs. Please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – email@example.com or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.
The stringent new mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions by power plants, factories and other industrial sources is being heralded as the greatest environmental initiative of Barack Obama’s presidency,
“We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and arsenic and sulfur in our air and water,” declares President Obama. “But power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air for free. That’s not right, that’s not safe, and it needs to stop.”
Industrial facilitates currently account for around 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. This latest addendum to the host of green 2020 initiatives is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4% below 1990 levels.
Residential properties benefits by this new initiative as it encourages the Department of Interior to approve enough renewable energy projects on public lands to power 6,000,000 homes by 2020. The Initiative also offers $8 billion in loan guarantees for energy efficiency and advanced fossil fuel projects.
“This is the change Americans have been waiting for on climate,” praises Sierra Club president Michael Brune. “President Obama is finally putting action behind his words.”
Already President Obama has been praised for his first term green triumph > steering automakers to double gas mileage standards for daily driver vehicles. Now, the President is requiring stricter standards for heavy duty truck models introduced in 2018 and after…and he can do it all without congressional approval.
In 2007, U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency-part of the executive branch under the White House-can regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act – just like it does with soot, lead and other types of air pollution. Thus, Obama’s new plan does not need Congressional approval, but expect congressional input in determining just how the emissions cuts are implemented.
“It’s clearly time to act,” Gene Karpinski of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) adds, “and [Obama is] setting out a bold, ambitious, comprehensive plan for what he can do without needing to rely upon Congress.”
Nestlé Waters North America is making its first big renewable energy project a good one. The company installed two 1.6-megawatt wind turbines –industrial-size spinners – at its Cabazon, Calif., bottling plant. The cost -> $7.4 million construction with $2.15 million in permanent loans.
NWNA Cabazon’s location in the San Gorgonio Pass (aka, Banning Pass) is a wickedly windy place. Situated in a gap through the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains that connects the Inland Empire to the desert cities of the Coachella Valley, it’s home to one of the earliest and still biggest wind power developments in the country. Perfect place to make clean electricity from wind.
The two 1.6 megawatt GE wind turbines along the I-10 corridor will produce an average of 12,900,000 kilowatt hours annually, powering the equivalent of 1,100 U.S. homes. The project will also save 7,320 tons of CO2 emissions, offsetting the equivalent emissions from 20,687 oil barrels and saving the equivalent of 1,897 acres of trees.
NWNA partnered with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and Foundation Windpower to site and host and commission the wind turbines. Foundation Windpower installs, operates and owns the wind turbines, and its associated environmental attributes. NWNA purchases the power produced directly and receives renewable energy credits from Foundation Windpower, reducing the company’s power needs from the Southern California power grid.
“We’re pleased to partner with Nestle Waters North America to help advance renewable energy efforts in Cabazon,” said Matt Wilson , chief executive officer of Foundation Windpower. “Nestle Waters’ leadership in sustainability is an important example of how corporations can make a sizable difference in managing natural resources and creating job growth in the green sector.”
The installation of the wind turbines in Cabazon is part of NWNA’s long-term renewable energy plan. NWNA was the first beverage manufacturer in the country to build U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED) certified plants. In 2004, the Cabazon plant earned a LEED Silver Rating. Today, the company has 10 LEED-certified facilities, covering 3.7 million square feet and diverting 22,000 tons of waste material from landfills.
“Hosting wind turbines at our bottling plants is a critical step for Nestlé Waters to support the increased use of renewable energy,” Michael Washburn, vice president of sustainability for the company. “This latest effort in conjunction with our partnership with Foundation Windpower is consistent with our practices to reduce our environmental footprint.”
Nestlé figures the two GE turbines will meet about 30% of the plant’s power needs, churning out around 12,900 megawatt-hours of power per year.
The developer, Foundation Windpower, is the go-to company in California for commercial enterprises looking to power up with big wind, with 11 projects done and more in the works. Incentives at both the state and federal level allow the company to offer attractive power purchase agreements to clients. There’s the California State Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), pays $1.25 per watt of installed capacity, half up front and the rest over the first five years of operation, assuming a 25% capacity factor is achieved (no problem there). Then there’s the federal production tax credit that pays 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of wind energy produced.
While this is Nestlé’s first wind energy project anywhere in the world, the company does flash other green credentials: The Cabazon plant got a LEED Silver rating in 2004, one of 10 LEED-level facilities for the company. The company also boasts that it “produces 98 percent of its single-serve PET plastic bottles on-site at company bottling facilities, saving 6.6 million gallons of fuel per year through reduced transportation requirements.”
Don’t you just hate driving around downtown Santa Monica looking for parking? A new automated garage, the kind of the future, is now being tried in Santa Monica. It allows you to park a lot more cars in a lot less space because no driving is involved. The “West Coast’s first automated parking garage” is moving cars around the UCLA Santa Monica Outpatient Surgery Center. Drivers can leave their cars at six bays, where a movable platform takes the car to a crane. The 8,000-pound crane then lowers the car onto one of six levels. Employees swipe their driver’s license or a badge to retrieve their cars, while the public will use a credit or debit card (the garage will open to the public when all the kinks are worked out). Usually the cars can be retrieved in two minutes and people seem happy with the system. “It breaks down sometimes, but when it’s working it’s really great,” according to one nurse.
One of the best aspects of the robot garages, other than never losing your vehicle or dealing with break-ins, is they hold more cars than a typical garage and can be built smaller. West Hollywood and Chinatown both have automated parking garages in the works.
by Jodi Summers
Spread across the country in such desirable cities as Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C., and West Palm Beach, FL. all totaled, nearly 2 million square feet of office space.
Here’s what’s included in the deal:
• Los Angeles – 500 North Brand Ave. Located in the heart of Glendale’s Central Business District, this 22-story, 413,274-square-foot office building provides tenants with one of the area’s most exceptional office space alternatives. This premier high-rise is conveniently located adjacent to numerous retail, restaurants, and hotel amenities, including the Glendale Galleria, the to-be built Americana at Brand, and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport (Bob Hope Airport).
• Washington, D.C – One Washingtonian Center, a Class A, LEED, 14-story, 315,929-square-foot office building in the Gaithersburg submarket of Washington, D.C. that recently renewed a lease with Sodexo Inc. to keep its headquarters in the building. Sodexo, is on Fortune’s list of The World’s Most Admired Companies, has the ambition is to become the premier expert in Quality of Daily Life service solutions.
• Palm Beach – Esperante Corporate Center, a 20-story, 256,151-square-foot, and LEED Gold landmark located at the gateway to Palm Beach – Esperante Corporate Center commands spectacular views of the Atlantic, the Intracoastal Waterway and Downtown. Having recently completed a $4.5 million renovation, achieving status, this Class A asset offers WiFi-enabled common areas, a 24/7 lobby attendant, valet parking and a six-story atrium ideal for corporate events. Tenants automatically become members of 5-Star Worldwide, an exclusive program of tenant services that adds value to every square foot.
• Houston – 2603 Augusta, a 16-story, 243,348-square-foot office building located in the West Loop/Galleria area, described as “Houston’s premier submarket.” 2603 Augusta offers Class A, boutique office space and all the amenities of the Galleria at your doorstep.
• Dallas – Preston Commons, 8111-8117 Preston Rd., Dallas 75225 – an office complex totaling 427,800 square feet that includes a pair of eight-story buildings located in the Preston Center submarket of Dallas. The building description boasts, “A revolution in tenant service, 5-Star Worldwide is an uncommonly smart choice for tenants who need a wide array of business and personal amenities to include conference facilities, technical support, a cafe and 5-Star Worldwide personal attention.”
• Dallas – Sterling Plaza, a 302,747-square-foot building asset at 5949 Sherry Lane in the Preston Center submarket of Dallas. Sterling Plaza has one prime objective: To become North Dallas’s premiere office destination offering VALUE, SERVICE, and a fabulous package of AMENITIES. Here, tenants enjoy a one-of-a-kind 5-Star Worldwide amenities program featuring executive conference facilities and concierge services. Come see why Sterling Plaza is “Where Business Shines.”
Interested? Contact us. We’re here to help you with your real estate needs. Please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – firstname.lastname@example.org or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.
Time flies. Do you remember back in 2007 when Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor and the state assembly passed AB 1103 Commercial Building Energy Use Disclosure Program? It was supposed to begin in 2010, but of course, it got changed and delayed and modified and finally, low and behold, the time to disclose energy data is upon us. The first phase of the Energy Use Disclosure Requirements begins July 1, 2013.
To refresh our memories, Assembly Bills 1103 and 531 require owners of nonresidential buildings located in California to disclose energy usage of such buildings in advance of any sale, lease, or financing of the entire building.
Here is the schedule for when commercial buildings need to keep and disclose energy usage records:
2. On and after January 1, 2014, for buildings with a total gross floor area between 10,000 square feet and 50,000 square feet; and
3. On and after July 1, 2014, for buildings with a total gross floor area between 5,000 square feet 10,000 square feet.
AB 1103 and 531
Assembly Bill 1103, signed into law on October 12, 2007, requires the tracking of the energy use of all nonresidential buildings and the disclosure of such energy use as part of the sale, lease, or financing of an entire nonresidential building. T
The disclosure requirement is intended to “motivate building operators to take actions to improve their buildings’ energy profiles” and “to allow building owners and operators to compare their buildings’ performance to that of similar buildings and to manage their buildings’ energy costs.”
Since we’re talking government, AB 1103 then added Section 25402.10 which contained a compliance deadline of January 1, 2010. Assembly Bill 531 removed that deadline, and replaced it with the disclosure of energy usage data on a schedule of compliance established by the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission.
Compliance with Assembly Bills 1103 and 531 expects owners of nonresidential buildings to take certain actions at least 30 days before the sale, lease, or financing of the entire building.
1. Register for an account with “Portfolio Manager,” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program online tool for managing building energy use data.
2. Create a profile within Portfolio Manager for the nonresidential building.
3. Use Portfolio Manager to request that utilities serving the building release the last 12 months of energy use data for the building to Portfolio Manager. What you’ll get is:
- Disclosure Summary Sheet;
- Statement of Energy Performance;
- Data Checklist; and
- Facility Summary (collectively, the “Disclosure Data”).
4. After the utility data has been provided, download the Disclosure Data; and provide the Disclosure Data as part of the sale, lease, or financing.
(Regulations section 1683(a) + 1684(c).)
Here’s the curious caveat, there is no specific penalty for non-compliance, but a failure to disclose a building’s energy usage could be viewed as a material fact in the transaction.
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