(Leslie Nakashima/Nextimage3D)

With a goal of helping lure tenants back to the office, Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm Coretrust Capital Partners is showcasing new technology which creates a safe and inviting workplace in an historic building.

FourFortyFour South Flower, formerly Citigroup Center and known as the building made famous by TV’s “L.A. Law,” houses a 22,500-square-foot (2,090 sq m) “Workplace Innovation Lab,” a showcase which potential office spaces tenants can occupy. The ULI Los Angeles District Council is among those who have recently taken advantage of its offerings, relocating their office.

“The nature of work is rapidly [changing] in our post pandemic environment,” Marty Borko, executive director at Urban Land Institute Los Angeles District Council, said. “As a leader in the real estate community in Los Angeles, it was important that we help showcase what a best in class shared office model can be and were honored to have the opportunity to be a tenant in the Workplace Innovation Lab at 444 South Flower and share this with our membership.”

The building, at 444 S. Flower St., is in a prime location downtown in close proximity to local subway stations. The Workplace Innovation Lab was designed by Gensler with furnishings supplied by office furniture manufacturer Haworth, also a tenant in the building, in collaboration with workspace strategy firm PeopleSpace. The lab encompasses the building’s entire sixth floor and cost Coretrust Capital Partners approximately $4 million to build, according to Thomas Ricci, founding and managing principal of Coretrust.

Couches, treadmill desk offerings, and height adjustable desks sprinkled throughout the space which features Arktura ceilings and plenty of natural daylight. (Gregg McGillivray Halkin | Mason Photography)

Amenity-Rich Offerings are on Deck

Walking through the Workplace Innovation Lab, soothing sounds of nature, including a babbling brook, along with smooth jazz melodies can be heard overhead while breathing in fresh air. There are collapsible walls and a loggia which help provide an indoor/outdoor environment, taking advantage of the Southern California climate and making it possible to venture outside without leaving the floor.

“These are things that office buildings just don’t regularly have,” Ricci says.

The Workplace Innovation Lab also features office space that is already being rented as well as a showroom that includes a mix of around a dozen workspace offerings. Micro-size offices and traditional and non-traditional conference rooms as well as individual workstations are among them.

There are also couches, treadmill desk offerings, and height adjustable desks sprinkled throughout the space which features Arktura ceilings and plenty of natural daylight. The goal is to demonstrate to tenants and prospective ones what type of interactive, collaborative workplace is possible.

“We’re trying to create an environment that elevates the art of work and workplace,” Ricci says.

(Leslie Nakashima/Nextimage3D)

Aromatherapy in the Workplace Innovation Lab, as well as the building’s common areas, is another amenity which helps make tenants feel “transported to a hotel in a five-star location,” according to Ricci.

Addressing Tenants’ Concerns in a Pandemic World

The 48-story, 915,000-square-foot (85,006 sq m) LEED Gold Certified building is the first worldwide to garner the UL Verified Healthy Buildings Mark Indoor Air and Water, according to worldwide safety science company UL. An upgraded air filtration system keeps the air fresh and sterilizes contaminants.

Ubtech Robotics’ Adibots, six-foot machines which use ultraviolet-C disinfection, are also used by houskeeping staff in the Workplace Innovation Lab at night to clean the air and disinfect surfaces in common areas.

Coretrust’s approach is part of a response to the fact that office is increasingly becoming more “resi-mercial” now, says John Sischo, a founding and managing principal of Coretrust. As a result, employees are looking for the office to offer more.

Luring people downtown comes with its share of challenges given the current climate. Class A vacancy in downtown Los Angeles was at 18 percent at the end of the second quarter, according to Avison Young’s most recent Los Angeles Office Market Report.

There was an increase in employers touring office space last quarter which sheds a favorable light on the future of office market leasing, according to Avison Young. Ricci is also optimistic given the fact his company is witnessing an uptick.

“We’re now seeing a bubble of pent-up demand,” he says.

Responding to the changing needs, wants, and desires of employees and employers will help ensure success, Ricci says. Coretrust also keeps this idea top of mind at its two other Workplace Innovation Lab locations at PASARROYO in Pasadena, California, and Two Liberty Place in Philadelphia. The company is forecasting such buildings will help bring back a strong office market.

“I just think that it’s the idea of innovation and where the future of the workplace is going,” Ricci says. “Office is not obsolete. It’s a living, changing environment.”