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CRE developers focus on amenities to attract Millennials

Some commercial real estate developers in Florida and around the country may have been caught off-guard by the speed at which co-working arrangements and mixed-use buildings have gained in popularity. The workspace sharing company WeWork was a fledgling start up with an uncertain future just six years ago, but the New York-based company is now worth more than $16 billion. While some industry insiders may claim that this type of spectacular growth is an aberration, WeWork could respond by pointing out that its client list includes Fortune 500 companies like General Electric.

Erecting imposing steel and glass towers with prestigious addresses and marble-clad lobbies has been the accepted way for commercial real estate developers to attract legacy office tenants, but businesses with younger workers are now demanding shorter leases and more amenities. Millennials place a high value on convenience, and buildings close to transportation hubs that feature shops and eating establishments are likely to be more attractive to them even when they are located in less desirable neighborhoods.

These changing tastes have prompted the owners of luxury buildings in some of America's most vibrant cities to begin large-scale renovation projects. The owners of a 41-story Manhattan building are investing $28 million to add features such as a modern fitness facility and a 250-seat cafeteria. Other developers are stripping their lobbies of granite and marble and dialing back security measures to foster a more casual atmosphere.

Most real estate developers understand that renovations and updates may be required from time to time, but obtaining the necessary permits and permissions is sometimes a challenge. When permits are difficult to obtain or local residents file lawsuits to stop renovation work, attorneys with experience in this area may provide assistance to developers by focusing on the positive aspects of the planned work and the benefits that will be enjoyed by members of the community.

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