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Sustainability & Occupant Health Take Center Stage in Largest Office Projects Coming Online in 2022

As the year’s first quarter draws to a close, we turned to CommercialEdge data to look into the state of the office pipeline, as well as the largest U.S. office properties due for completion in 2022. From supertall skyscrapers to sprawling campuses, the most prominent office developments estimated to wrap up this year demonstrate a decided interest in sustainability and green building practices. In fact, half of the 20 largest office projects are redevelopments that at least partially preserved pre-existing structures, while simultaneously employing some of the most modern green building materials and techniques, as well as integrating state-of-the-art smart building technologies.

What’s more, project designs among the entries presented below show an increased focus on people-oriented amenities that generally prioritize healthier new workplace concepts. For instance, new properties incorporate solutions for more natural light and a less rigid office design, as well as transitional indoor-outdoor spaces and high accessibility to green spaces and heavily landscaped areas.

Keep reading to learn more about the state of the national pipeline in Q1 2022, as well as development highlights on the largest office projects scheduled for completion this year. Or, use the links below to jump to a specific section of the article:

 

146 MSF of New Office Space Under Construction in Major U.S. Markets in Q1

The recent national office report published by CommercialEdge found that office properties totaling nearly 146.6 million square feet of office space were under construction at the close of February this year. Among the markets highlighted in the report, New York City remains home to the largest active pipeline in the U.S. Specifically, as of February 2022, 19.2 million square feet of new office projects had broken ground and begun construction in the Manhattan market, representing 4% of existing stock.

See the table below for more details on the state of the office pipeline in all markets surveyed for the CommercialEdge national office report in March.

With nearly 12 million square feet under construction, Boston boasts the second-largest active pipeline at this time. According to the CommercialEdge March office report, Boston office space recorded the lowest vacancy among the markets surveyed — 10.5% following a 90 basis points (bps) contraction over the previous 12 months and well below the national average vacancy rate of 15.7%. And, as interest in the life sciences hub here continues to grow, developers are hard at work bringing more stock to market.

The biggest local development projected to come online this year is the 1-million-square-foot One Post Office Square. The redevelopment was designed by Gensler to achieve new standards for excellence in healthy built environments and will add nearly 200,000 square feet of new downtown Boston office space to the original structure. Built to LEED Gold specifications, the building is being repositioned among the highest-performing commercial properties in town.

 

Austin, Nashville & Miami Pipelines Rank Best for Expansion of Stock

Despite being home to the third-largest office pipeline behind Boston and NYC, Austin, Texas, wrangled the top spot for market expansion. More precisely, the 10 million square feet of new office space under construction here represents 11.6% of existing stock — the largest share of new supply among top markets tracked by CommercialEdge research.

In this respect, Nashville, Tenn., ranked second. The 4.6 million square feet of new office space under construction here represents 8% of existing stock. In addition to developments with shovels already in the ground, office projects that are still in the planning stages in Music City indicate an even larger market expansion to come: Future local supply with planned projects included alongside under-construction totals is estimated to represent 15.7% of current stock.

Likewise, office properties currently under construction in Miami will add an estimated 7.8% of stock for the third-largest projected expansion among the markets on the list. Developers in this Florida market have 5.4 million square feet of new inventory in the works, with projected delivery dates in 2022 and beyond. Including planned office projects, construction data indicates market expansion by an additional 14% of current stock, which is good news for those looking to move business to the Sunshine State. According to the CommercialEdge March report, Miami office space has seen a vacancy contraction of 270 bps during the last 12 months, reaching a rate of 13.1% last month.

See the biggest office properties scheduled for 2022 delivery ranked from largest to smallest in the table below and read on for details on the sustainability and green building practices employed to bring them to life.

Hudson Yards Supertall Skyscrapers Near Completion

The three largest office developments at the top of the list all hailed from New York City. In first place was 50 Hudson Yards, the final tower to rise in phase one of the Hudson Yards development. The supertall spans an entire city block and topped out at 1,011 square feet last year. Incorporating 2.9 million square feet of LEED Gold-designed Midtown office space, 50 Hudson Yards is slated to be the city’s fourth-largest office tower upon its projected completion later this year.

Not to be outdone, The Spiral came in second with a total size of 2.8 million square feet. Towering 66 stories above 10th Avenue, this supertall skyscraper also topped out last year (1,041 feet) and is expected to open in Q3 2022. Developed by Tishman Speyer and designed by Bjarke Ingels Group to be an unprecedented human-centric workspace, the property is anchored by Pfizer, which signed a lease for 800,000 square feet here in 2018. Featuring a dramatic series of cascading garden terraces that reach every tower floor, The Spiral is a striking new addition to the Manhattan skyline.

 

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In third place was another sizeable Tishman Speyer project: The 2.2-million-square-foot Morgan North Postal Facility spans a full block from Ninth to Tenth avenues and West 28th to West 29th streets. The redevelopment design features oversized, 13-foot-tall windows and a heavily landscaped, 2.5-acre rooftop. While USPS will continue to operate on the lower four floors of the building, Tishman Speyer is revamping the upper floors and adding 630,000 square feet of premier Chelsea office space in the process. Notably, stories five and six will feature floor plates spanning more than 200,000 square feet each — a particularly rare availability for Manhattan office space.

 

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Three other New York City office projects also ranked among the 20 largest developments projected for delivery in 2022: Vornado Realty Trust’s 850,000-square-foot redevelopment of the Farley Building, which is leased to Meta; the repositioning of the century-old, 700,000-square-foot Textile Building by a partnership of Tribeca Investment Group, PGIM Real Estate and Meadow Partners; and the 688,000-square-foot 425 Park Ave. in Central Midtown — the first full-block office building on Park Avenue in more than 50 years, designed by Foster + Partners and developed by L&L Holding Company.

 

Repositioning the Corporate Office Campus into the Future

However, not all of the biggest office developments in the 2022 pipeline reach for the sky. For instance, Ford’s sprawling, 2.2-million-square-foot headquarters campus in Dearborn, Mich., was reimagined to reflect the automaker’s ambition of leading the industry into the future of innovative mobility technologies. To that end, Ford enlisted architecture firms Snøhetta and IBI Group, along with engineering and sustainability partners Ghafari and Arup.

For the project, plans called for most of the existing buildings to be demolished and replaced with modern, technologically connected facilities that are designed to reduce energy use by incorporating elements such as geothermal technology, rainwater capture and high-efficiency lighting. The new central campus structure (The Hub) is estimated for completion in Q4 of this year and represents the main focus of a master-planned series of buildings interconnected by gardens and courtyards.

 

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Meanwhile, the massive, 39-acre, 18-building former General Electric campus in Fort Wayne, Ind., is being transformed into a future-ready, mixed-use innovation district. In a nod to the site’s storied past, the redevelopment was named Electric Works, and its first phase of construction is slated for completion this fall. In addition to headquarters space for Indiana’s largest private company — Do it Best Corp. — the project also includes facilities for: more than 30,000 square feet of coworking and shared office space operated by Carr Workplaces; Fort Wayne Community Schools’ STEM-centered “Amp Lab” program, which will serve hundreds of 11th and 12th grade students; a primary health clinic; northeast Indiana’s first food hall and public market; and more.

Fort Wayne-based Weigand Construction leads redevelopment of the West Campus buildings, with pronounced regard for restoration of the original structures. The company has worked closely with the National Park Service and the Indiana State Historic Preservation Office, in addition to enlisting several companies specializing in masonry restoration and historic window replacement in order to keep the adaptive reuse project on schedule and up to the standards of its guiding vision.

 

Tech Giants Claim 1.8 MSF of New Austin Office Development

Besides New York, Austin is the only other city to have multiple entries on this top 20 list. Both of the projects highlighted here are new, ground-up developments, and both are also the result of big tech footprint growth.

The largest of the two is the nearly-1-million-square-foot Phase One of Apple’s West Parmer Lane Campus. Located on 133 acres of previously undeveloped land, the sprawling new property will include 12 office and amenity buildings; a daycare facility; parking structures; a conference center; and a 192-key hotel. At full build-out, the corporate property is expected to incorporate 2 million square feet of modern Austin office space, with an additional 1 million square feet dedicated to ancillary facilities. The first-phase completion of Apple’s $1 billion new campus this year marks three decades since the tech company first established a presence in Austin in 1992.

Downtown, a new signature tower in the Austin skyline is also nearing completion. Located at 601 W. Second St., Block 185 topped out last year at approximately 590 feet. The eye-catching, sailboat-inspired high-rise will deliver nearly 800,000 square feet of new downtown Austin office space and is fully leased to Google. In this case, the tight building footprint and logistics challenges generally associated with central business district development were a perfect opportunity to employ modern building strategies. The project was fully modeled, planned and signed off in virtual 3D before any construction activity took place. Virtual design also made for highly efficient materials and equipment planning, as well as coordination on the ground after construction began.

Developed by Trammell Crow and designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects with STG Design, Block 185 was the last major project to break ground in the 1.7-million-square-foot, mixed-use district that seeks to reactivate the site of the former Thomas C. Green Water Treatment Plant and Energy Control Center.

 

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Methodology

We based this article on data that we compiled on March 7, 2022, from CommercialEdge. We included only properties equal to or larger than 25,000 square feet and considered properties that are designated either exclusively for office use or primarily for office use (such as mixed-use including office space). Data presented under the top office developments of 2022 includes under-construction projects with estimated completion dates during this calendar year. Final delivery dates may differ. The square footage shown for each entry represents total property size.

Disclaimer

While every effort was made to ensure the timeliness and accuracy of the information presented herein, the information is provided “as is” and neither CommercialCafe nor CommercialEdge can guarantee that the information provided is complete. This report is for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute and should not be relied upon as a basis for any investment decision. The information presented is subject to change without notice and may or may not apply depending on the circumstances. Always contact a qualified investment consultant if you need advice regarding buying, selling or otherwise transacting in any investment.

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