Remote or hybrid work, few changes coming for RTP offices so far, says RT Foundation exec

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – The onset of the global coronavirus pandemic meant a rapid shift to remote-based work environments for many companies, across the nation and throughout the Triangle.

Now, as concerns surrounding the increasing spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant are discussed, some companies are updating remote-based work or flexible work policies, or making them permanent.

Cisco announced a plan to go “all in” on a hybrid approach to work recently, and ChannelAdvisor made its flex work policies permanent in June, for example.

Yet demand for commercial real estate in Research Triangle Park, and in close proximity to the Park, hasn’t changed that much, Carolyn Coia, the senior director of real estate for the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina told WRAL TechWire this week. That demands includes the Foundation’s Boxyard which is being boosted by new business openings.

Some companies are pushing back re-entry plans to return workers to in-office environments, Coia noted, but declined to comment on any specific company.  “I have heard from a couple of users, not in RTP, that have pushed back re-entry into their offices by up to two months,” said Coia.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that companies are considering changing their footprint.

For companies or firms seeking a small amount of space, roughly 3,000 to 10,000 square feet, Coia said she hasn’t seen a very large shift.

For larger square footage, the market is there, said Coia.  “It did not exist last year.”

Coia noted a conversation with a prospective tenant seeking approximately 40,000 square feet of space.

Though it’s possible that the onset of the pandemic acted as a catalyst, Coia said some companies with existing footprints in Research Triangle Park were already considering renovations, updates, or new strategies to leverage their assets prior to the pandemic.  Coia did not comment on any specific company.

IBM spokesperson Carrie Bendzsa confirmed to WRAL TechWire in June that the company was seeking tenants for multiple facilities in the region that were unused by the company.

IBM is seeking tenants to lease its ‘unused’ space in RTP

Trends in RTP

One trend Coia noted as important for companies of all sizes was access or proximity to outdoor amenities.

“Outdoor spaces, really not that new of a trend,” said Coia, but added that “prospective tenants have been asking about more outdoor amenities.”

Boxyard RTP, for example.

The project, which officially opened earlier this summer, continues to see its tenant businesses open, and outdoor events are already being held at the site.

“We just started serving beer this past weekend,” Coia noted, adding that the facility will be up to full speed in September as the remaining tenants and restaurants open.

The project is based off of a similar project in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the groundbreaking occurred in 2019, prior to the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic.



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