Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in local economic development since 2019, the last time global real estate services and investment firm CBRE released its list of Tulsa’s Coolest Office Spaces.
“The big difference is we’ve had four new office buildings either completed or under development downtown,” said Bob Pielsticker, first vice president of CBRE in Tulsa. “Since the 1980s, we haven’t had 600,000 square feet of new product come online.”
That volume led to nine office spaces being selected to CBRE’s 2022 “Coolest” list, which was compiled by a broker team led by Pielsticker, in consultation with architects, contractors and building owners. Officially revealed Friday afternoon at a CBRE-hosted party at Atento Capital (109 N. Detroit Ave.), the spaces are Atento Capital, ConsumerAffairs, Crowe & Dunlevy, GableGotwals, Hall Estill, Pray Walker, 36 Degrees North Incubator, Williams IT and Zayo Group.
The list, which CBRE started locally in 2017, reflects leases placed in service the past two years (COVID delayed the company’s biennial recognition schedule), Pielsticker said.
Four law firms made CBRE’s list. GableGotwals resides in the Vast Bank building, and Crowe & Dunlevy is moving into 222 N. Detroit Ave. Pray Walker has a lease at 21 N. Greenwood Ave., and Hall Estill is building out its space on the 11th and 12th floors of Santa Fe Square tower, which is under construction.
“GableGotwals was the first law firm to kind of make the jump,” Pielsticker said. “There’s been this herd mentality with the law firms to the flight to quality.”
With its pocket park, several proposed restaurants and 30-foot by 50-foot outdoor video board, the plaza within Santa Fe Square will be a “game-changer,” Pielsticker said.
Mac Rosser IV is shareholder/director at Crowe & Dunlevy, which is leasing the entire sixth floor at 222 N. Detroit Ave.
“What we were looking for was something that would help us be more collaborative and enable us to have more casual discussions,” he told the Tulsa World earlier this year. “We also wanted it to be attractive to talent. Our primary goal is to bring talented people in and make them part of our practice.”
The Vast Bank building is 100% leased, and Pielsticker envisions Santa Fe Square will be that way before the end of the year. At 21 North Greenwood, each floor has attached covered parking, and the rooftop deck also has a 5,000-square-foot enclosed area that, after hours and on weekends, will double as an event space called The Vista at 21.
“The flight to quality is really built around the need to attract and to retain new talent,” Pielsticker said. “While the second-generation buildings have great historical qualities, they don’t always have the amenities that this millennial workforce is looking for.
“That includes having space for collaboration and the ability to have more of your company on larger floor plates. Some of the buildings have balconies. It’s nice to have that outdoor space.”
COVID has pushed millions of workers into remote or hybrid work, making it incumbent on employers to make workplaces more alluring, which many have done locally.
The core of the Williams IT space is an Apple Store-like help center in which personnel can receive technical help. At Atento Capital, whose space is a repurposed restaurant, beer taps protrude from a wall and a “speakeasy” bar can be accessed by pulling a book in a movable bookcase door.“That’s one reason that these companies are spending money on nicer, new office space,” Pielsticker said. “It’s to attract their workforce back.”