The global real estate investment manager has incorporated a plethora of smart technology features into its 180,000 sq ft Landmark office development in St Peter’s Square, Manchester, to help protect against Covid-19.
Technology already forms an integral part of the design of the Landmark scheme, which has a Wired Score Platinum certification. The building now offers a ‘touch-free’ experience for occupiers, to support new work practices in the post-pandemic world.
Among Landmark’s smart tech features are: pre-installed ultra-fast fibre connections with internet providers Telcom, Colt and Openreach; free WiFi; intelligent destination control lifts; smart building management systems, close proximity to The Loop network; smart access control and visitor management systems; a bespoke occupier engagement app; intelligent LED lighting that responds to outside conditions, and solar panels on the roof generating on-site electricity.
“From entering the building, either on foot through the revolving doors, by car or cycle, occupiers and visitors have a completely touch-free journey through the building to their office destination in large part thanks to the bespoke occupier app working in conjunction with smart access controls and visitor management systems,” explained Ian Mayhew, managing director at Barings.
“Having acknowledged that forward-thinking businesses want next-generation office space with resilient digital connectivity, the technological infrastructure at Landmark played a vital role in the design and construction of the building.
“Recent events have highlighted the importance of providing occupiers with a touch-free experience in addition to the all-important ‘plug and play’ set-up when they move in and the ability to work at speed on a daily basis without interruptions.”
Property consultancy CBRE’s 2020 Occupier Flash Survey, conducted in May, concluded that touch-free technology is expected to be adopted by 45% of survey respondents, while 41% reported an increased interest in buildings with ‘WELL’ or sustainable features.
The survey suggested that technology investment was at the heart of occupiers’ workplace strategies even before the pandemic hit, at which time 83% of EMEA occupiers reported they intended to increase future investment in real estate technology in the coming months.
More than one-fifth (21%) said they were prepared to pay a rental premium of more than 20% for tech-enabled buildings. CBRE acts as the office agent for Architects Squire & Partners Architects-designed Landmark.
Neil Mort, senior director at CBRE Manchester, said: “CBRE’s research shows that investment in technology is now an integral part of occupiers’ real estate strategies – advancing beyond a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ element.
“Digital buildings help to drive operational efficiencies and reduce costs as well as enhance productivity and improve the occupier experience, ensuring that the value of integrated technology extends far beyond the immediate health situation.”
Covid-19 has changed and challenged the way we work, with digital lifelines now more essential than ever, and is has also presented an opportunity for companies to accelerate their digital transformation, Mort added.
Another property consultancy, JLL, has relocated its 170-strong Manchester team to the 10th floor of 14-storey Landmark, as its largest commercial office outside London.