48 / BUILDING DIALOGUE / SEPTEMBER 2023 ELEMENTS Workplace Design Rede ning Commercial Real Estate for the Modern Workforce T he world of commercial real es- tate has undergone a remark- able transformation over the last five years. In response to today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business landscape, most companies active in the commercial space are hustling to adapt and remain competitive as the needs of modern professionals trans- form, particularly those contributing within the post-pandemic technology workforce. Colorado is by no means immune to the current dislocation within the broader capitalmarket ecosystem, and some of the more specific challenges that surround the broader work-from- home debate and the supply demand imbalance that exists across all mar- kets. Asset values have seen a rapid decline across all real estate sectors but are especially pronounced in the retail and office sectors. Office vacancies have skyrock- eted up as companies struggle to define how office space should be used, how much office space they need today and how much they will need tomorrow. Interest rates have tripled within the last 12 months for much of the office stock. High interest rates don’t just drive CRE val- ues down; they create indecision for the companies that occupy the CRE and radically change their growth plans. Having said that, metro Denver leasing activity for new construction projects and existing projects that are highly differentiated significantly outpaces the activity in older commodity space. Clearly, not all work environ- ments are created equal. We see great opportunity in this climate, one condu- cive to continued growth. Our confidence is based on a 40-year track record of capitalizing on the opportunity that hyper-bearish CRE markets inherently provide. In fact, we believe that we are quickly approaching the best CRE buying window since the Resolution Trust Corp. days of the 1990s. Our target markets since inception have always been innovation hubs that have a heavy technology orientation. The metro Denver market is no exception. The essence of our CRE strategy is to revolutionize the workspace experience and inspire the innovation work- force to return to a work environment that fosters col- laboration, creativity and joy. We have been executing a design-led, innovation-driven process to create work environments that meet the demands of a tech-driven economy for decades. By skillfully blending hospitality and residential de- sign elements into our properties, we create work envi- ronments such as the Element Research Center in Boul- der, Infinite Labs in Louisville, and the Link in downtown Denver – campuses that inspire and energize. We are very strong believers that when it comes to workplace design, one size does not fit all. Every design is nuanced to reflect the differences of each building, each neigh- borhood and each region. Denver, for example, requires a very different curated experience than L.A. Today’s work environment, especially for those indi- viduals working in the various innovation sectors, needs to be reflective of current shifts in industry best prac- tices. Traditional silos have today given way to fully in- tegrated teams, where engineers and marketing experts work side by side. Our properties are designed to cater to this new reality – fostering collaboration and creativity while enhancing productivity. We prioritize the integration of next-gen- eration amenities such as fitness centers, curated food and beverage elements, outdoor spaces, and wellness programs within our “campuses.” Our goal is to sup- port the holistic needs of the Denver and Boulder metro workforce and create environments that nurture both professional growth and personal well-being. We understand that the needs of industry giants such Barry DiRaimondo Co-founder, chief executive of cer and chairman, SteelWave LLC Peter Llorente Senior managing director, SteelWave LLC Element Research Center lobby