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  • Writer's pictureColliers | Columbus


Updated: May 16, 2023

Written by: Briana Sfero, CPMC

As a Marketing Manager, Briana supervises and coaches the corporate marketing support team members, while ensuring that processes in place assure outstanding customer service while following the vision of Colliers | Columbus. Briana also aids in the execution of the overall brand and corporate identity, working with the Director of Marketing & Research to drive the strategy and vision for marketing.

The Trend: Flight to Quality

The desire for high-end office space has been demonstrated across the market, with Class A office buildings and new construction benefiting the most from this trend. Occupiers are prioritizing the quality of office space over the economics and efficiency to help attract and retain talent and lure employees to come back to the physical office. While Class A buildings are becoming increasingly popular amongst tenants in the market, there are also companies wanting to trade up their space, moving from Class C to Class B buildings. This provides an opportunity for owners of Class B office buildings to add amenities and make building renovations and upgrades to secure new tenants who are interested in maximizing value. Below are a few examples of companies that followed the flight-to-quality trend when looking for new office space.

CASE STUDY 1: Telhio

Telhio recently signed a lease at The Peninsula Development, with plans to occupy the entire fifth floor. The new office demonstrates a stark contrast to their former headquarters located at 96 N. 4th St, which they owned since 1962. The 30,000 SF space increases their office footprint by about 3,000 SF. Telhio’s President, Derrick Bailey, stated that while the ability to redesign their floor plan to fit the needs of their rapidly growing organization is a great benefit, the new space also features a balcony, café area and board room overlooking the Scioto Mile.

CASE STUDY 2: Ohio Housing Finance Agency

Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) is relocating from an older, Class C building in Downtown Columbus to 2600 Corporate Exchange. Although the organization is entering a new submarket about 20 minutes north of the Central Business District (CBD), ownership at Corporate Exchange II has enhanced its tenant amenity offerings to include a new lounge, common conference rooms and updates to common areas as well as the lobby. With a smaller pool of companies in the market, space quality in tenant suites and common areas is becoming increasingly important. OHFA’s relocation demonstrates the push for office improvements, as their decision to relocate was contingent upon trading up their space for these improvements.

The Trend: Move-In Ready Spaces

Sublease space has been on the rise as firms across the country continue evaluating their post-COVID real estate needs. Columbus sublease availability remains relatively low despite other U.S. markets hitting record levels of availability. Until there is greater clarity on business direction, sublease space remains a short-term and cost-competitive option, creating an opportunity for Columbus owners committed to improving their spaces. Owners have been upgrading their spaces by creating spec suites, move-in ready spaces or fully furnished options, allowing for quicker and easier occupancy in addition to offering tenants flexibility as their workplace strategy continues to change. This provides a clear advantage when competing for the business of companies looking to either make the transition from work-from-home back to the office or those seeking space while they reevaluate their needs.

CASE STUDY 1: Toole Design

Toole Design is a planning, engineering and landscape architecture firm specializing in active, multimodal transportation. They recently leased a 4,370 SF speculative suite at The Hayden, located at 20 E. Broad in Downtown Columbus. In conjunction with move-in ready spec suites, the owners of The Hayden have also recently renovated the entire building. Known as the oldest building on Capitol Square, 20 E Broad was originally constructed in 1869. In 2020, the building had undergone various upgrades, including a common conference room and rooftop patio overlooking the Ohio Statehouse. This is a prime example of an owner who committed to making renovations and improving tenant spaces to remain competitive in the Columbus office market.

CASE STUDY 2: MoveHQ | Updater

While Columbus has relatively low sublease availability compared to other cities across the U.S., the office market still offers 2.3M SF of sublease space. MoveHQ, an Updater company, secured a fully furnished, creative sublease space in the Warehouse District of Columbus. The fully furnished space featured high ceilings, tall windows, collaboration spaces and meeting rooms. The attractive, in-place infrastructure and furniture supported a quick and easy occupancy.

For more information on current office trends, check out our 2023 Columbus Office Tenant Report!


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