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Refresh, Revitalize, Transform: A Partnership to Reposition Chicago

The growing technology, amenity, and efficiency demands of today's tenants are pushing more and more building owners toward repositioning their aging buildings to gain a competitive advantage through real estate. However, not all building repositioning projects are the same.

Repositioning can range from an aggressive strategy with the goal of transforming a Class B building into a Class A, to simpler strategic moves focused on creating an enhanced image or updated brand for an existing building. No matter the goal, the process begins with analysis and discovery. The building owner and their strategic partners work together to understand the inherent value and equity of an existing asset in order to create a comprehensive and strategic solution for their real estate. Essential to this assessment is the ability to consider investment through the lens of market values, economic incentives, and total cost of ownership.

ESD and Gensler are partnering together to offer our clients strategic services which approach building repositioning holistically – as an integrated architectural and engineering solution. Our services encompass the full project development cycle and focus on not only seizing opportunities that keep your assets more viable today but reposition them to emerge more competitive in the future.

The three basic ways to achieve a return on investment for building reposition projects are:

Refreshed projects incorporate minimal interventions with a strategically targeted scope of work that will improve the appearance and perception of an existing asset. Finish enhancements, graphics, landscaping, lighting, or tenant planning are low-intensity ways to make a better impression.

Examples of these low-intensity improvements include:

  • main lobby, elevator lobby, or garage lobby improvements
  • security system modifications
  • interior lighting
  • elevator cab finishes
  • restroom finishes
  • tenant / service corridor finish upgrades
  • landscape design
  • energy audits
  • retro-commissioning
  • audio visual upgrades
  • targeted communication infrastructure retrofits

Revitalized projects create a more efficient and better performing building without large-scale construction. Even minor improvements to systems and on-site amenities can help retain those looking for a better value, increasing occupancy and asset value.

Examples of ways to revitalize your real estate include:

  • feasibility studies
  • sustainability improvements
  • sustainability analysis and planning
  • interior wayfinding
  • environmental graphic design
  • building code and ADA upgrades
  • transit plan connectivity
  • BOMA calculations
  • test fits and tenant planning
  • property assessment
  • brand and identity design
  • marketing material design
  • investment-grade energy audit
  • MEP retrofit design
  • controls system upgrade
  • visualization

Transformational projects create a new life for an existing building, repositioning it in the marketplace for use by a new tenant mix or for a new use altogether.

Economically achievable improvements include:

  • building / skin refresh
  • building re-skin
  • building amenity design
  • building infrastructure design
  • adaptive reuse
  • exterior lighting design
  • exterior public space design
  • exterior building signage
  • add / subtract square footage
  • intelligent building technology
  • communication infrastructure upgrade
  • net-zero design analysis

For a more complete understanding of what the Gensler / ESD repositioning partnership offers, and examples of success: contact Kyle Hendricks