ity properties can provide both energy efficiency and superior
indoor environments. The twin ratings are helping redefine
high-quality properties in the competitive Australian market.
What Should Prudent Investors Do?
In today’s volatile environment, in which technological
changes have disrupted (and continue to disrupt) a wide
range of industries, it is easy to ignore change and dismiss
the role of buildings as contributors to health outcomes.
But with tenant demand rising, developers and owners are
increasingly incorporating health and well-being features
into construction and fit-outs.
Some well-known examples include 425 Park Avenue in
New York City, developed by L&L Holdings, which was the
first building in NYC to register for WELL Certification. This
high-profile development incorporates a number of health-focused features, including increased ventilation rates, access to natural lighting, and floors connected by staircases.
The CBRE headquarters in Los Angeles was among the first
to explicitly focus on health and well-being, which was
fully integrated in the refurbishment of the downtown LA
office. This was the first office space in the world to become
WELL Certified. Anecdotally, CBRE reports that “
employees are happier and more productive than they were before;
they feel healthier, and they would not choose to go back
to a traditional way of working.” Many large developers and
owners have made commitments to develop WELL Certified
buildings, including Lend Lease, Hines, Oxford Properties,
Sino-Ocean, and others.
While buildings may last for centuries, tenant preferences are changing. The choice between a building that reduces productivity and increases sick leave and a building that
enhances well-being and increases revenue is not hard. The
real estate industry has the unique opportunity to provide
at least part of the solution to the overwhelming problem
of rising health-care costs through passive prevention measures that start in buildings. Leading property companies
will seize this opportunity to differentiate their assets and
stay ahead of potential challenges from increasingly aware
occupants. It’s time for the commercial real estate industry
to live up to this challenge. n
Nils Kok is the Chief Economist of GeoPhy and Associate Professor
at Maastricht University. Paul Scialla is the Founder and CEO of
Delos and Founder of the International WELL Building Institute.
425 Park Avenue, New York