Just as no two buildings share the exact same characteristics, such as size, shape, or location, no two office leases are identical either. When it comes to renting office space, some tenants require little more than a keycard and a place to put their desks. Others want to fit out the space to meet their distinct needs down to the carpet shag and wall texture. Understanding that these improvements make a space more attractive to prospects, most landlords spend a lot of time considering their tenants’ improvement needs. Challenges are often presented when tenants change their minds mid-negotiation or as the building process gets further along.
If you think things can get complicated in a traditional office setting, where an executive or office manager might have very defined views of what they want the space to look and feel like, imagine how much more involved this process is in the life sciences industry. Here we have tenants that need space for very specific purposes. The rooms often need to have special ventilation, hygienic floors and walls, and infrastructure for highly specialized, state-of-the-art testing equipment. For companies in the life sciences, having a space built to suit their unique needs is not a luxury but a requirement.
The extensive collaboration necessary in the buildings that support medical operations and research forces operators in the niche to develop much more long-term relationships compared to a lot of other real estate sectors. Larry Stuardi, president and CEO of MRA Group (MRA), one of the most respected life sciences developers in the U.S., explained that, “our relationship with clients is the most important component of our business. As a real estate solutions firm, it’s our job to solve our clients’ real estate problems, and we do so through our various offerings from development to advisory and management services. When working with prospective clients, we truly believe we are forging long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships for years to come.”
In order to make the design and construction process more collaborative, MRA has turned to 3D imaging. Mike Wojewodka, Senior Executive Vice President and Partner of MRA, said, “whether it is a simple tenant fit out or ground up development, significant time is spent extracting information from the client to determine what ultimately needs to be constructed. Using a cloud 3D visualization platform, we are able to present an interactive representation of the potential product earlier on in the design process and collaborate more effectively on adjustments and changes.”
Increased collaboration also has the added benefit of helping the marketing and sales process as prospects often need to weigh different layout options before they can commit to lease terms. “Historically, architectural plans are presented in a 2D format on paper, which has been the industry standard for decades,” Wojewodka said. “By including 3D models in our sales presentations, it not only differentiates MRA from our competitors, but fosters a more interactive discussion. Those clients that have seen the product are immediately impressed with their ability to virtually walk the proposed space. This draws clients into the concepts more quickly and translates into a two-way conversation, rather than a standard one directional sales pitch.”
Generating renderings of unbuilt space is not a new concept. But, the way that it is being done is changing. Now, instead of having each rendering created by the design team, any 2D floor plan can be automatically converted into a 3D model. MRA’s CEO Stuardi explained how his company was able to go to market faster with Foyr’s 3D imaging service. “With speed to market being a critical factor in the commercial real estate space for life science tenants, we chose Foyr to help us provide a similar service offered by architects and engineers, however requiring significantly less up-front time and costs,” he said.
One of the big ideas being touted as the future of the real estate industry is that it needs to become more “tenant-centric” as people start to demand more from their workspaces. If any owner or operator wants to see what that future might hold, they need look no further than the life sciences sector. Collaboration between owners, developers, tenants and prospects requires a long-term mentality and tools like 3D visualizations to help the process along.