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Real estate industry keeps an eye towards new workspace trends

In our last post we discussed the revitalization of the downtown Detroit area and new development that is happening there. In addition to the introduction of national retail chains, many local and national businesses are moving into office spaces in Detroit. While space is plentiful now, many businesses are looking towards their long term interests and making sure that their office space can accommodate growth.

New trends towards communal workspace and flexible work arrangements are showing a lot of promise for cost savings and better productivity for employers, making it easier to stay in sleek downtown spaces in favor of larger suburban plots.

A recent survey by CoreNet Global, which represents real estate industry professionals, found that the amount of space needed per employee is shrinking. This is welcome news for both business owners looking to rent and commercial property owners interested in making the most of their building.

An important part of the trend is the end of cubicle workspaces, which take up a lot of space and can inhibit collaboration. The elimination of paper and filing cabinets is also enabling many companies to scale back on square footage.

The survey indicated that within the next five years, each employee will be allocated 100 square feet or less. This is down significantly from previous numbers. Within the last two years alone, the square footage per person has dropped from 225 to 176.

The newly designed commercial spaces are considered "smaller but smarter" than traditional office designs.

Higher density in downtown areas is also good for the environment and the economy. Instead of building a complex with a gym and a cafeteria, companies now locate downtown near vendors that provide those services. For businesses and other real estate developers in Detroit, more people coming into the city for work can mean more opportunities for growth.

Source: USA Today, "The office is shrinking as tech creates workplace everywhere," Haya El Nasser, June 5, 2012.

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