Traversing the Cutting Edge
I was in Washington, D.C. last week to lobby on Capitol Hill on behalf of the real estate industry, and had the pleasure of meeting with friend and colleague Margarita Foster, Editor-In-Chief of NAIOP’s Commercial Real Estate Development magazine. Here are three concepts recently featured in the magazine that captured our attention:
Meet Me in the Trees
In response to employee requests for non-traditional workplaces that offer connections to nature, fresh air and sunlight, Microsoft has developed three outdoor meeting spaces in the Douglas fir trees surrounding its Puget Sound headquarters. Ranging from 500 to 900 square feet, these meeting spaces are located 12 feet above the ground and are anchored by a towering 150-year-old fir tree.
Though two of the structures are covered, none are heated, and all are open to the elements. These treehouses have been so popular that their hours of operation were extended to seven days per week within a month of opening, and use of the two that are covered is not deterred by rain. Although there is no hard data yet, it is expected that these non-traditional workspaces will facilitate creativity and out of the box solutions.
While efforts to improve human mobility have garnered a lot of attention, the technological innovations triggered by the out-sized demand for new and better freight mobility are also compelling. We’ve discussed the emergence of drone deliveries in past blog posts, and were intrigued to learn about two other innovations that are currently being tested: truck platooning and hyperloops.
Truck Platooning. Truck platooning is the connecting of two or three trucks traveling from one place to another (which can be done wirelessly or physically) to take advantage of fuel-saving aerodynamics allowing the truck(s) in the back to coast in the wake of the lead truck. Resulting cost savings are estimated to be +/- 15%.
Hyperloops. Hyperloops are vacuum tubes through which pods containing passengers and/or freight can travel resistance-free over long distances at high speeds. The Maryland Department of Transportation has conditionally approved its portion of a hyperloop proposed by Elon Musk that would connect New York City and Washington, D.C.
Future-Proof Your Leases
We believe that new transportation modalities, whether for people, freight, or both, and new types of office space, will impact the built environment in ways that can’t be envisioned yet.