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Commercial architecture firms find innovative ways to combine industrial, creative space

COURTESY: LRS ARCHITECTS - Vetsource's new 35,000-square-foot headquarters had to emrbace both a collaborative culture and be pet friendly at the same time.

Industrial buildings that combine room for manufacturing and distribution with space for employees to be creative and relax make up a robust sector of the Portland metro area's commercial architecture market.

Amalia Mohr, an associate at LRS Architects and a leader in its commercial office sector, said the firm is seeing a growing demand for industrial buildings that feature "awesome interior workspace for employees."

Variety in workspaces is essential, and human resources managers are often the ones leading the charge and bringing other managers on board. As an example, breakrooms increasingly provide greater access to power for smartphones and other devices so employees can charge them or watch something on them while having lunch. USB drive access is another popular amenity IT teams are being asked to install in breakrooms and other workspaces, she said.

Conference rooms also require variety, with space for small groups and large gatherings.

"The meeting spaces don't have to be enclosed, and they can be adjacent to a breakroom or kitchen for events that bring all of the employees together in one place," Mohr said.

Work stations follow the same style, with more manufacturers and distributors providing space for employees to work while standing or sitting, private rooms for individual work, slightly larger areas for collaborative work, and lounge space.

"It's not a new concept, but it's something that is still paramount to the workspaces we're designing," Mohr said. "Having that ability to pick and choose where to go and how to work is really key to a lot of the designs we're doing."

COURTESY: LRS ARCHITECTS - Vetsource's new 35,000-square-foot headquarters had to emrbace both a collaborative culture and be pet friendly at the same time.

Sustainability and energy efficiency also continue to play a predominant role in the design of new industrial buildings. Among LRS Architects' recent projects is Edwards Vacuum's new North America Semiconductor Technology Center in Hillsboro. The company held a grand opening ceremony in late August for the 75,000-square-foot facility, which houses 25,000 square feet of office space and utilizes high-performance heating, ventilation and air conditioning — and all LED lighting.

"The opening of our new facility on Century Boulevard, as we celebrate 100 years of innovation and our company's centennial anniversary, may be unintentionally symbolic, but is strategically very important," Scott Balaguer, vice president and general manager of Edwards' Semiconductor division North America, said in a statement.

"Not only is this new headquarters located close to some of our key accounts, but this area, the 'Silicon Forest' and the greater Northwest, is an excellent place to recruit top-notch employees for engineering, R&D and manufacturing positions."

LRS Architects designed Columbia Distributing's new Canby location, a 530,000-square-foot warehouse with 16,000 square feet of creative office space that is slated to open in fall 2020. The facility combines three Portland locations on 43 acres and eventually will house about 300 employees.

As Vetsource looked for ways to accommodate its growth, it turned to LRS Architects to design its new 35,000-square-foot headquarters at Cascade Station. To reflect Vetsource's pet-friendly and collaborative culture, the building features an off-leash dog and "pet parent play area," as well as a separate entrance to clean paws, a wash area and a canine drinking fountain.

Vetsource's headquarters is an open office concept with "impromptu huddle spaces," several meeting rooms and a quiet working room, the company states in a description of its new space, which it moved into late last year.

R&H Construction worked with LRS Architects to create its 167,000-square-foot adaptive urban industrial campus in the Slabtown neighborhood. Dubbed The Hopper, the campus encompasses 18,000 square feet of corporate headquarters space and 34,000 square feet of warehouse space for R&H Construction's shop and field resource center. The 33,000-square-foot Building A and 82,000-square-foot Building D were designed to accommodate single or multiple tenants.

"Our new office and warehouse within The Hopper's urban industrial campus will help support our progress while fostering collaboration among our team of 180 Portland-based office, field and support personnel," John Ward, the company's president, said in a statement. "We also really love the outstanding visibility, accessibility and on-site parking that The Hopper provides, which will be critical for us to serve and conveniently reach our customer base."

Demand for industrial space is expected to continue for the rest of the year, with 1.6 million square feet of warehouse space and 79,000 square feet of high-tech space expected to deliver with a combined pre-lease figure of 19.1%, according to Cushman & Wakefield's most recent quarterly outlook.

More development is likely to occur, particularly in the Canby, Woodburn and Salem areas along the I-5 corridor. Land prices remain a key concern as suburban prices near $8 per square foot compared to $20 to $25 per square foot for land closer in, when it can be found. The most desired footprint for tenants hunting for warehouse space will remain within the 50,000 to 150,000 square foot range, Cushman & Wakefield stated in its forecast.

Bluestone & Hockley credited the hot industrial market to robust demand, growth and investor capital, noting the boom is the result of strong economic growth, record consumer optimism, low interest rates and the growing demand for products by e-commerce next day delivery.

Colliers International called the industrial sector not only the most reliable property type in the Portland market, but across the country, and said new supply is being pushed east because of a lack of supply. About 2 million square feet of new industrial space is currently being built in the East Columbia Corridor, Clackamas, Milwaukie, Fairview and Airport Way.


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