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Charter Hall merging office and public life to keep new age tenants happy

Charter Hall continues to tap into the social sustainability and wellness trends sweeping the commercial real estate market by including a not-for-profit cafe and pop up art gallery in its latest commercial office lobby refurbishment. 

According to Charter Hall Office Trust (CHOT) fund manager, Trent James, the revival of the lobby in 1 Market Place in Sydney’s CBD will hopefully appeal to the “new breed of tenant” in the building, including the likes of LinkedIn, Expedia, Wotif Group and Microsoft.

He said that what was once the “heart of the legal, finance and banking precinct of Sydney’s CBD” has had to adapt to the reflect the needs of a shifting customer base.

These areas are intended to be “third spaces” – extensions of the workplace that encourage collaboration and interaction with the community outside the building.

“We drew heavily from the interface with the street and that public life and the idea of this being a semi-public space having somewhere to connect with people, feel inspired, a sense of community and just a place to think outside the traditional work space,” Mr James said. 

The technology-enabled mezzanine is now home to a new not-for-profit café, called Portal Cafe, which delivers 100 per cent of its profits to benevolent causes. The company has also teamed up again with North Sydney community art initiative Project 504 to provide a pop-up art gallery space.

The company took a similar approach to the ground floor of 65 Berry Street in North Sydney. This space also has a not-for-profit cafe and is the permanent home of the Project 504 artist studio and gallery. There’s also a space for yoga and pilates that’s freely available for tenants to use for events.

In another social sustainability play that will hopefully appeal to the company’s customer base increasingly populated by tech giants, the property group has also partnered with CBRE to build a tenant engagement app called “Charli”. 

Tenant engagement apps like Charli allow landlords to connect with tenants to provide things like news, events, services and offers, including pre-ordered coffees and lunch. 

According to the AFR on Thursday, the property group is rolling Charli out to its 1 Martin Place building first followed by office tower on 570 Bourke Street in Melbourne. 

Craig Rodgers, Charter Hall’s head of office innovation, believes the white-label app developed by CBRE will hopefully help the company keep its tenants.

“Our customers are wanting flexibility, we’re seeing buildings come to life, and we’re seeing people wanting to have the ability to personalise and be at the centre of the workplace,” he said.

The company was also an early adopter of the Comfy app, which allows users to personalise workspace heating and cooling.

The app is capable of tracking user preferences and can automatically adjust heating and cooling to suit the preferences of each user as they move into different spaces.

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