Development Updates: “Times Plaza” & “Williamsburg Plaza”

There’s a lot going on in Huntsville in terms of development. In fact, an article recently released by al.com shares current U.S. Census figures that show Huntsville metro is still growing at a fast pace. We are always excited to be involved with this growth and help talented businesses become a part of the Madison County community.

As promised, Crunkleton will bring you updates on the progress of projects that we have already announced, and we have two for you today.

Read on below to see the latest from “Times Plaza” and “Williamsburg Plaza”!

Times Plaza

When driving past the old Huntsville Times site off the Parkway, you may have noticed the new sign that showcases renderings of the completed “Times Plaza” development.

We are thrilled to share the latest renderings of the project with you so you can see what’s coming. Check it out!

Times Plaza is the official name of the development that will be situated at 2317 South Memorial Parkway. It will be a mixed-use retail/office development that will house multiple exciting tenants including restaurants, boutiques, and more.

(We have a tenant announcement coming very soon, so check back here!)

Click here to see details on the property.

Williamsburg Plaza

Last November, we announced the addition of a new 8,200 square foot development coming to the corner of Highway 72 and Nance Road: Williamsburg Plaza. The site includes two confirmed tenants—Bank Independent and Aspen Dental.

As an addition to one of the city’s busiest retail corridors, it’s easy to see the development’s construction progress when driving by. Walls are up, and passersby can now make out the roof of the Colonial Williamsburg-style Bank Independent location.

According to the development team, “Construction continues at Williamsburg Plaza on the corner of Highway 72 and Nance Road. For the most part, the weather has cooperated and plans are on schedule. Williamsburg Plaza expects tenants to open up during the 4th Quarter of this year.”

Click here to see details on the property.

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haley_squareHALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

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5 Office Amenities That Boost Productivity And Employee Satisfaction

Many people are familiar with the perks that come your way when working for a company like Google. The unique office amenities offered to employees have been the topic of much discussion on respected websites like Business Insider, Forbes, and many others.

Let’s face it. Who doesn’t love the idea of adding relaxation rooms, breakfast bars, on-site gyms, and a team of massage therapists ready to relieve the daily stress of office life?

But adding amenities like these may not work in every business setting. While some companies may benefit from incorporating an arcade room—like at the LinkedIn headquarters—others only need to focus on the amenities that will have a positive impact on their bottom line. This is different for every office, and something a broker can help you determine.

Many of these “transformational office amenities”, as Emerging Trends In Real Estate calls them, can be key to boosting office morale, retaining existing employees, attracting new talent, and lowering the overall stress within your organization.

When considering updates to your own office space, or when searching for a new one, be sure to take a moment and ask yourself what amenities you will need in order for you and your team to perform their best.

To help with your brainstorming, here are some of the most requested office amenities according to National Real Estate Investor, Emerging Trends In Real Estate, and the brokers at Crunkleton.

1) The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things refers to the network of physical devices, electronics, software, and connectivity options within an office environment. In the commercial real estate world, the availability of efficiently operating systems is greatly affecting the leasing game and will continue to do so in the future.

It’s no surprise that access to fast, reliable Wi-Fi made it to the list of most requested amenities. Simply put, employees are looking for the freedom to walk about the office space/building and be able to complete their work in a number of settings—like the break room, cafeteria, or rooftop lounge. Offering reliable Internet means providing more freedom and convenience.

Technology such as energy efficient glass that adjusts for heat, glare, and daylight is considered a part of this category. Streaming music and mobile device connectivity to office tools are also important components to consider when deciding on your own Internet of Things for the office.

2) Dedicated Creative/Brainstorming Spaces

In today’s society, many jobs can be intellectually taxing and/or require high amounts of attention and creative energy. We saw the demand for additional creative spaces come along when Millennials began to enter the workforce, and this trend isn’t going anywhere for a while.

Companies like Beats Electronics headquartered in Culver City, California took brainstorming to the next level by creating entire rooms with whiteboard walls. AppNexus also came up with a unique way to get its employees’ creative juices flowing by incorporating a “poetry room.”

Some businesses even introduce elements like hammocks, basketball hoops, or video game systems for employees to use when on break or stuck in a creative slump. There’s no set way to execute the perfect creative/brainstorming space. The possibilities are endless.

3) On-Site Fitness Centers

Perhaps one of the most effective tools used to retain and attract new talent is the incorporation of on-site fitness centers. According to Athletic Business, a 40-year old publication dedicated to the sports and fitness industry, corporate fitness facilities “increase productivity, improve employee morale, and decrease absenteeism.”

Many large companies such as Unilever went so far as to create a “Wellbeing Zone” where employees can opt for activities like yoga, massages, and stretching. Google, on the other hand, added its famous “nap pods” as a place for employees to recharge.

Whether it’s in the form of adding a treadmill and some equipment in a dedicated area or creating a space that encourages mental wellbeing, investing in employees’ health and wellness is a highly requested amenity that has been shown to provide numerous benefits.

4) Access To Food Options

According to National Real Estate Investor, many employees are requesting access to better food options when at the workplace.

When searching for an office space, it’s always important to consider what food/coffee/beverages your company will have quick access to. This need for convenient food options has led businesses to relocate to areas where food choices are more plentiful. In some cases, companies are adding “dedicated food truck days” where employees can try out lots of local grub near the office.

With the rise of multi-use developments that incorporate office spaces, it’s becoming easier for tenants to provide their employees the food options that they desire.

Rooftop lounge at 315 Franklin Street in Downtown Huntsville.

 5) Rooftop Lounges And Outdoor Areas

Recent studies have been conducted that seek to determine the impact that physical office environment has on employees’ wellbeing.

The Human Spaces report into The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace stated in 2015 that “employees who work in environments with natural elements report a 15 percent higher level of well-being, are 6 percent more productive, and 15 percent more creative overall.”

Click here to read the official press release on the study.

This may be the reason so many workers are seeking office spaces with dedicated rooftop spaces and outdoor areas where they can decompress and reconnect with nature.

What office amenities do you find the most helpful and/or necessary? Let us know in the comments below! If you have questions about office amenities, call Eric St. John at 256-536-8809, or email eric@crunkletonassociates.com

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haley_squareHALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

315 Franklin: A Fresh Take On Office Space In Downtown Huntsville

Creating a dynamic office space that’s inventive, flexible, and practical is a challenge, but it’s a project that Will Brannon and his brother Curt Brannon were willing to undertake. As Co-owners of 315 Franklin Street, they had a vision for Downtown Huntsville that included the addition of a space that would not only be unique, but also serve a purpose that would benefit the city.

Larger cities like San Diego and New York have long embraced the concept of shared office spaces, but the trend has made its way to Huntsville and has already attracted several dynamic businesses.

“Companies are becoming more open to the concept of less traditional methods when expanding,” Will explained. “The purpose of 315 Franklin was to create an experience. When you walk inside these doors, we want you to feel a certain way and reap the benefits that the space can offer.”

When faced with the mission of redeveloping one of downtown’s spaces on Franklin Street, Will and Curt seized the opportunity to “invest in Huntsville’s growth.”

Building A Community

What does a shared office space look like and how does it function? At 315 Franklin, you’ll find several amenities that point tenants to one goal—building a community. Collaborative office spaces are growing in popularity, according to Will. But 315 takes it a step further by offering desks to employees of different companies who can use the space, its conference room, and rooftop terrace all without the expense of renting a dedicated office.

“For instance, if you had a business that recently signed a 5-year lease on a new office space to meet their current needs but grew rapidly, our concept provides flexible, dynamic space and bandwidth,” assured Will. “It not only gives them a space to do their job, but ideally, they will be working elbow-to-elbow with people from complementary companies. We’ve created an ecosystem that’s conducive to networking, building relationships, and referring business to each other.”

“Imagine you are an architect with a vision,” he went on. “You will be in the same office with subcontractors and developers that will offer insight into your project that you may otherwise have missed out on. That’s just one benefit of the space.”

With the addition of new businesses and an increased focus on the “live, work, play,” lifestyle, Downtown Huntsville is leading the way in new, experiential ideas. 315 Franklin is a progressive space that shows the city has a lot of growth on the horizon.

Huntsville’s Investment In Growth

“If you quit seeing change in Huntsville, check your pulse,” joked Will. “The city’s growth as a whole makes projects like this possible. Thanks to Downtown Huntsville, Inc., and the leaders who want to see Huntsville grow and change, we are enjoying the benefits of larger cities.”

The bottom floor of 315 is already fully leased to Haufe, a next-generation Talent Management/HR company that “enables companies to attract, engage, and retain the top talent they need to be leaders in their industries.” The company’s previous headquarters was in San Francisco, but they recently made their move to Huntsville.

“Haufe was coming to Huntsville regardless, which says a lot about our city,” said Will. “But they were attracted to 315 Franklin because of the concept—the availability of shared space upstairs pacified any concerns they had of outgrowing their new office. If they grow, they can simply rent a desk upstairs and expand as needed. They were a great candidate for the space and we are glad to have them.”

Will went on to share that much of the success with the project is due to relationships with trusted commercial real estate agents, developers, and leaders that believed in the idea. But it’s a project with no end in sight.

A Vision Evolving Daily

“First of all, this is not what I thought I’d be doing in my career,” clarified Will. “My intention was always to go to medical school and become a doctor. After working in a hospital for a while I discovered that it wasn’t for me, so I started from square one. I began working for an experiential marketing company and it became my new passion.”

Thanks to the background in marketing, Will said he and his team were able to research trends in larger cities and envision what Huntsville will become.

“The thing about this space that’s so great is that there’s always room to change the vision—it’s always growing,” he said.  “We always have the option of making a version two. We want to hear from people on what else would make this space even better. We have the rooftop terrace, that’s something people have come to appreciate in a work environment.”

At the end of the day, a space needs to have value. Will says that making the space work with your story is where you can find that value.

Telling Your Story With A Space

Many of the amenities in 315 Franklin are designed to be flexible and, at the same time, easily controlled. When considering the value of the space, Will and Curt wanted to ensure that it was beneficial for all age groups and working styles.

“We made sure there is room for both isolation and collaboration,” assured Will. “Some people here like to have quiet—and we have space for that—while others prefer a more collaborative environment. Making the space work with both is a necessity in order to create the most positive workplace.”

All of the desks in 315 Franklin were custom made by SCSWORX in Huntsville, the company where Will currently serves as President. In fact, members of Will’s sales and creative teams have desks on the top floor. As an experiential marketing company, SCSWORX helps companies build better tangible brand experiences. In the case of 315 Franklin, the brand is the space itself.

“We designed all of the desks with wheels on them, because we never know what the next day will hold,” said Will. “Tomorrow may be a day that we want to collaborate, but today we may need our space. Simple things like the addition of those wheels make the space flexible and controllable.”

Thankful For Recognition

Recently, 315 Franklin was on a list of possible Downtown Huntsville projects that were nominated for Project of the Year. While the award went to the deserving Preservation Company, Will said 315 Franklin was honored to be on the same list.

“Just to be mentioned in the same sentence as the other nominees was incredible,” beamed Will. “I held those projects on a pedestal, and the fact that people acknowledged what we were doing here as deserving of a nomination—well, we are overwhelmed. We have so many people to thank—Peter Lowe, the Huntsville Historic Preservation Commission, Downtown Huntsville, Inc., and many more—for believing in projects like this. We love to see the city grow and change, and it’s even better to know we were a small part of it.”

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haley_squareHALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

The Changing Workplace: Why Offices Are Adapting

The office workplace is an environment that has seen much change over the last decade. From updated technology to construction materials, employers and employees alike have realized the average office space needs to adapt.

Where it used to be

We’ve all been there—the stuffy office space with only a few windows, many walls, and the same color patterns throughout. File cabinets used to be in any area where they would fit. Most employees dealt with sharing space with a personal printer. It left less room for comfort and more room for isolation. But over the years, businesses have seen the value in increasing the quality of the work environment in order to boost morale, attract talented employees, and enhance their bottom line.

Where it is going and why

Colors, windows, noise, collaboration, benching, wellness, and amenities—these are all major topics of discussion in the modern workplace. Many new factors are now being considered during the design and creation of new offices.

  • Color is being used to promote certain moods in specific environments, instead of being selected on personal preferences. For example, blue hues are being used for a calming effect, while bright colors have been shown to improve focus and accuracy.
  • Windows are now being placed in open areas to allow light to flow throughout, instead of in individual offices which traps light. This also gives employees a chance to interact with nature. Even if it is visual interaction from indoors, this perceived contact has a positive impact.
  • Noise is thought about differently in varying environments in order to make tasks more efficient and comfortable. Piping in white noise or music has become a common practice in many work environments.

And then, there is the important focus on office collaboration. The workplace is seeing several different types of collaborative areas to bring employees together.

Some offices have decided to incorporate “benching” to create shared desks and work areas. This can be especially valuable when you have a group of employees that spend a lot of time traveling, or maybe for someone on your team who doesn’t need a permanent workspace. Benching can be used when employees are working on different projects and need to move around the office to work with different groups of people. All in all, the concept of benching has the ability to boost productivity by enhancing office communication and making projects move faster.

Wellness and amenities are also main concerns that bring about many conversations in the planning process. From managing stress levels to retaining talent, businesses are adding incentives within the workplace to encourage and boost their employees. It’s becoming more common to see offices with gyms, social gathering spaces, and more.

How has this affected Huntsville?

Huntsville has already seen some of these changes first hand. As companies re-locate and real estate investors purchase new property, you will notice more and more of this. The construction materials, layout, design, location, amenities, etc., are all just a few qualities that were considered on the following Crunkleton projects:

104 Jefferson Street

The tenants, Prime Lending and KPS Group Architects, are both operating out of a modern workplace and came from very traditional environments.

315 Franklin Street

The first-floor tenant, Haufe, is in and operating.

Stovehouse

This development is in its early stages but has the ability to offer very modern environments.

ADS

ADS, located at Bridgestreet, built an environment their employees could thrive in.

Crunkleton: Commercial Real Estate Group’s Office

We built a space that has flexible workspace in an open and inviting environment.

How can we help?

If you think your office setting could use an upgrade, or if you’re looking for a new space to transform your office into the modern workplace, don’t hesitate to call us at 256-536-8809 to see how we can assist you.

As one of the team’s dedicated office brokers, I will work with you and your team in finding the perfect space to help maximize your company’s full potential.

Have other questions about adapting office spaces? Let us know in the comments below!

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ERIC ST. JOHN
ASSOCIATE
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
ERIC@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM