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Amenity access becoming more important than owning, builders say

Ownership isn’t as important if the amenities are accessible, according to local developers who are focusing on creating an experience for tenants and customers through a live-work-play environment.

“Whatever your business is, don’t think of it as just a parking lot, don’t think of it as just a lobby for someone to walk into someone else’s office, don’t think of it as just a lunch room,” said Greg Strangman, founder and managing principal of LWP Group.

Strangman joined Robert Little, vice president of development at Kilroy Realty Corp. (NYSE: KRC); and Nathan Cadieux, leasing and land sales director for Corky McMillin Cos., at BOMA’s February luncheon last Tuesday.

“The idea that we don’t need to own anything anymore as long as we have access to it” is becoming more prominent, Cadieux said.

Strangman said his company treats tenants more like members. When someone can live in a 300-square-foot unit but have access to a pool, garden and other amenities, the “demand shifts dramatically,” Cadieux added.

Cadieux discussed McMillin Communities’ Millenia project in Chula Vista, which has the second-highest percentage of people who work outside the ZIP code where they live, he said, causing a “mass exodus” at 8 a.m. He explained how Millenia is “poised to respond to that.”

The mixed-use project will feature an urban format with residential, retail and hospitality, a Class A office district, a civic core and a pedestrian-oriented main street district.

“Today, customers demand something totally different — it’s a place to hang out, it’s little nooks and crannies, it’s a fire pit, it’s an opportunity to ride a bike places, it’s outdoor seating,” Cadieux said. “It’s really this idea of customer service and honoring and respecting the guest, which is a long way from where we’ve come. So I think that looking at opportunities to really create great places for people where they want to come and stay, the money will follow and shopping will follow.”

Strangman’s company stands for Live Work Play, and he incorporates amenities to make that possible for his “members.” He offers bicycles, pools and vegetable gardens to encourage people to get outside of their 300-square-foot homes.

He injects the characteristics of hospitality into the living environment, he said, adding that the experience should start at the front door of the building, not the door to the individual unit.

The trend is for a more collaborative work space that incorporates sustainability and environmental awareness, Little said.

Tenants are looking for and demanding location efficiency and to live, work and play in one location to avoid long commutes and expensive travel costs, he said.

One Paseo, Kilroy Realty’s planned mixed-use project in Carmel Valley, will feature a sustainable, mixed-use village plan in an amenity-driven environment, Little said.

The project occupies 23.5 acres and plans to incorporate office, retail and residential uses.

The land was acquired in late 2007 and plans have gone through many changes in density and land uses to achieve the right balance for Kilroy’s numbers, to mitigate its impact and to present a plan that has support, Little said.

He said he anticipates starting public hearings this year with local planning groups, then San Diego Planning Commission and finally the City Council. If all goes well, he hopes to start construction in the first quarter of 2015.

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LWP Group

852 Fifth Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101

LWP Group Executive(s):

Greg Strangman

  • Founder, Managing Principal