An Austin real estate investment firm is offering a peek at the post-pandemic office of the future.
Rastegar Property Co. plans to build a 24,000-square-foot office building at 809 E. Eighth St. in East Austin that it says will feature a number of elements designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases. The company says the building will meet the WELL Building Standard, a global rating system for health and well-being characteristics incorporated into construction projects.
Among the pandemic-prompted facets of the proposed project are:
- Open areas spaced six feet apart to promote social distancing.
- More private offices.
- Foot-controlled elevators that will include antigerm materials.
- Less on-site parking in response to the rise of remote work. Parking will be around 2.25 spaces per square foot rather than the typical 2.5 spaces per square foot.
- Advanced air filtration systems.
- Access to outdoor air via windows and sliding doors that can be opened. In the past half-century, offices typically have been designed to be “hermetically sealed boxes,” the company says.
- Large outdoor porch that will enable workers to gather in a fresh-air environment.
“After COVID hit, we made it our priority to address safety and wellness concerns across all of the properties we were investing in, and our East Eighth Street office really epitomizes all the elements we’ve come to realize are crucial in a post-COVID world,” Ari Rastegar, founder and CEO of Rastegar Property, says in an August 11 release.
Construction is scheduled to be finished in late 2022.
Hunter Floyd, director of design and development at Rastegar Property, says the company conducted extensive research about post-pandemic workplace needs to come up touchless features, high-quality air filtration, more private offices, more outdoor space, and other wellness-driven aspects of this project.
“An emphasis on wellness and sustainability for the facility will further differentiate this building from others currently in the market,” Floyd says.
Despite the work-from-home surge, many companies still want an office environment that supports teamwork, Floyd says.
“Office culture, innovation, focus, collaboration, and a sense of belonging to the company that you work for are hard to cultivate in a solely virtual world,” he says.
Floyd says Rastegar Property will ramp up leasing activity in 2021 and 2022. The building is small enough, he says, that one company might lease all of the space. That would enable the tenant to further protect its employees’ health by shutting out other tenants and, therefore, eliminating interaction with other occupants.