By now, it is no secret that many businesses are relocating their offices from the suburbs into urban areas. This trend has been going on for several years as hundreds of companies across the US are moving into more walkable city centers. The trend is not industry or sector specific; the types of companies seen moving downtown range from information technology, manufacturing, higher education and more.
When choosing a new location, there is a key differentiator in the new office location: walkability scores. Companies are choosing locations that have significantly higher walkability scores than previous locations. A walkability score is a number between 0-100 and is a reflection of the ability to get around without a car. Meaning, the ability to find restaurants, run errands, meet friends, clients, colleagues, etc. without the use of a car. The average walk score of companies’ new locations has jumped from a 51 to an 88.
There are several key motivators that are driving office relocation downtown:
- Attract and retain top talent– Having a prime location in an engaging, vibrant urban neighborhood is attractive to potential employees. Companies have identified that location is now a key factor for potential talent. Increasingly, employees are interested in
the “live, work, play” concept and want their offices to be located in close proximity to restaurants, cafes, public transportation, cultural institutions, entertainment, etc.
- Brand identification and differentiation- By moving corporate offices downtown, companies project an image of innovation, cutting-edge, connectivity and a uniqueness that sets them apart from their competitors. This image may also inspire employees to work up to these standards of modernization and advancement.
- Encourage creative collaboration- Companies are choosing locations in dynamic, engaging, energetic locations so as to inspire creativity and collaboration among employees. In urban centers, businesses are exposed to various industries which helps to inspire new ideas and creative business practices.
- Proximity to clients and partners- Even in the digital age, in-person meetings are still desirable, appreciated and productive. With so many businesses located in urban centers, face-to-face meetings are much easier to coordinate both internally and with clients and business partners. Being located in the city means having the opportunity to meet your co-workers, clients and prospects on a more regular basis.
- Centralized location- During the site selection process, many businesses have chosen to relocate downtown because the city presents a centralized location for much of the employee base. This is especially true when companies are consolidating several offices.
- Support triple-bottom line business outcomes- Many organizations find that relocating downtown is a good way to invest in their local community which, among other benefits, may be make the company more attractive to potential talent.
More information on Core Values: Why American Companies are moving Downtown can be found here.