At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, requiems for the office workplace were being held in cities around the world. Working remotely seemed to gain acceptance with every passing day, and companies pondered how much office space they’d need in the future.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the workplace revolution. As COVID 19 vaccines became more widely available, the attractiveness of working in isolation from home started to wear off. Suddenly, the office didn’t look so bad, as people tiring of Zooming their bosses and clients every day craved face-to-face interaction. Some market observers with a stake in office development, like Cushman & Wakefield, even predicted that things could return to normal by early next year.
“I believe, in time, the pendulum will swing back, and demand for office space will increase as the pandemic ends and executives focus more on productivity,” says Matt Price, CEO and Partner of Seagate Development Group, a full-service development and construction company based in Fort Myers, Fla., whose specialties include offices design and construction. Seagate also manages more than 1.5 million sf of office space.
SEVERAL OFFICE PROJECTS MOVING FORWARD
The pandemic didn’t crimp demand for Seagate’s services, and the firm has several office projects—all in its home city—that are in various stages of completion.
•As the owner, developer, construction manager, and site contractor of NeoGenomics’ global headquarters, which includes a 150,000-sf, $60-million state-of-the-art facility for administration and an expanded laboratory. The first building will be a three-story space for corporate offices, while the second building will be a 75,000-sf wet and dry lab space as well as a molecular lab for physicians and technicians. DeAngelis Diamond is the builder on this project, which is scheduled for completion during the third quarter of 2021.
Seagate is building Scotlynn USA Division's North American headquarters. Image: Courtesy of Seagate Development Group
•Seagate is developing and constructing the three-story 60,000-sf North American corporate headquarters for Scotlynn USA DIvision, which includes eight acres of on-site improvements and a road extension. The facility will incorporate contemporary interior design elements that have an industrial feel that reflects Scotlynn’s core business (hauling refrigerated produce), such as corrugated metal wall panels that mimic containers hauled by tractor trailers. Amenities range from a gym, basketball court, and cafeteria to a walking track and an indoor/outdoor recreational space with an eating area. The headquarters will be completed during the second quarter of this year.
•A 17,000-sf headquarters for Heritage Carpet & Tile includes a warehouse and office space that feature a mix of natural and artificial light. Dark carpet with light gray accents provides a professional tone without losing contrast light in the interior office spaces.
•Conditioned Air’s 41,745-sf operations center is supporting the company’s growth across three Southwest Florida counties with 30,945 sf of warehouse space and an abundance of additional areas for executive space, administrative offices, and a mezzanine. The facility features an 18-bay loading dock, expansive training room and training lab, and a Conditioned Air-branded glass wall.
•After remodeling 11,314 sf of the biotech company EmCyte Corporation’s purchased space, Seagate reconfigured the 30,000-sf headquarters for storage and reception as well as training areas, restrooms, offices, a conference room and laboratory, an X-ray room and examination rooms, clinic treatment and manufacturing facilities, and an AV-equipped auditorium. Seagate is adding 13,000 sf of warehouse space and a 2,000-sf office as well as renovating a 5,000-sf manufacturing area—all of which will be complete in June.
TRADITIONAL BUILDOUTS RETURNING
White Cap Construction Supply's new facility will include office space. Image: Courtesy of Seagate Development Group
Next month, Seagate will break ground on White Cap Construction Supply’s 45,000-sf facility in Fort Myers, adjacent to one of Seagate’s other projects, Alico Trade Center, a 40-acre business park for which Seagate is developing the land. One of the park's first tenants is Rice Insulation & Glass, for which Seagate will start in May on a 35,000-sf freestanding facility with offices, a conference room, training and break rooms, a materials warehouse, and high dock. This building should be completed by October.
Price, Seagate’s CEO, is seeing most new office environments returning to traditional office buildouts. He’s also witnessing improved HVAC designs to incorporate better filtering and to let in more outside air. “Retrofitting older buildings will become expensive tasks, which could lead to more design-building of corporate offices,” Price predicts.