The 'Cinderella Treatment': An Alternative Approach to Saving the Suburban Office Park

As suburban office parks struggle to lure tenants not decamping for more urban environments, some are investing princely sums to renovate their buildings in the hope of capturing a slice of the shrinking pie.
May 30, 2013, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Owners of suburban office space in [New Jersey] face a difficult environment," writes Ronda Kaysen. "Eighty percent of the office buildings were built in the 1980s and 1990s during the reign of the suburban, self-contained corporate campus, according to a report by Rutgers University [PDF]. But over the last decade, businesses and workers fled the isolation of the suburbs in favor of accessible city centers. Added to that, businesses have been reluctant to sign leases or expand operations in a lackluster economy."

While some office parks are embarking on mixed-use redevelopment in the face of high vacancy rates and low rents, others are taking a different tack and investing in costly renovations to create corporate campuses "updated for a modern work force." One example is Novo Nordisk's new North American headquarters in Plainsboro, where a $225 million gut renovation "took a drab, bunkerlike edifice and made it a shiny example of how New Jersey’s aging suburban office stock could be reimagined for a new era."

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Published on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 in The New York Times
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