Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in local economic development since 2019, the last time global real estate services and investment firm CBRE published its list of Tulsa’s coolest office spaces.
“The big difference is that downtown we have four new office buildings either completed or under development,” said Bob Pielsticker, first vice president of CBRE in Tulsa. “We haven’t put 600,000 square feet of new product online since the 1980s.”
This volume resulted in nine office spaces being included in CBRE’s 2022 “Coolest” list, which was put together by a team of brokers led by Pielsticker in consultation with architects, contractors and building owners. Officially announced Friday afternoon at a party hosted by CBRE at Atento Capital (109 N. Detroit Ave.), the rooms are Atento Capital, ConsumerAffairs, Crowe & Dunlevy, GableGotwals, Hall Estill, Pray Walker, 36 Degrees North Incubator, Williams IT and Zayo Group.
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The list, which CBRE launched on-site in 2017, reflects leases that have been operational over the past two years (COVID delayed the company’s biennial recognition plan), Pielsticker said.
Four law firms made the CBRE list. GableGotwals resides in the Vast Bank building and Crowe & Dunlevy moves to 222 N. Detroit Ave. Pray Walker has a lease at 21 N. Greenwood Ave. and Hall Estill is constructing its premises on the 11th and 12th floors of the Santa Fe Square Tower, which is under construction.
“GableGotwals was the first law firm to take the plunge,” said Pielsticker. “There was this herd mentality among law firms to flee to quality.”
With its pocket park, several proposed restaurants, and a 30-by-50-foot outdoor video board, the space within Santa Fe Square will be a “game-changer,” Pielsticker said.
Mac Rosser IV is a shareholder/director at Crowe & Dunlevy, which leases the entire sixth floor at 222 N. Detroit Ave.
“What we were looking for was something that would help us be more collaborative and have looser discussions,” he told Tulsa World earlier this year. “We also wanted it to be attractive to talent. Our primary goal is to attract talented people and make them a part of our practice.”
The Vast Bank building is 100% leased and Pielsticker expects Santa Fe Square to be leased before the end of the year. At 21 North Greenwood, each floor has an attached covered parking space, and the rooftop also has a 5,000-square-foot enclosed area that serves as an after-hours and weekend event space called The Vista at 21.
“The flight to quality is really based on the need to attract and retain new talent,” Pielsticker said. “While the second-generation buildings have great historic qualities, they don’t always have the amenities this millennial workforce seeks.
“This includes space for collaboration and the opportunity to show more of your company on larger floor spaces. Some of the buildings have balconies. It’s nice to have this outdoor space.”
COVID has pushed millions of workers into remote or hybrid work, leaving the onus on employers to make jobs more attractive, which many have done locally.
The core of the Williams IT Space is an Apple Store-like help center where employees can get technical help. Atento Capital, whose space is a repurposed restaurant, has beer taps protruding from a wall and a “speakeasy” bar can be entered by pulling out a book in a moving bookshelf door.
“It’s one of the reasons these companies are spending money on nicer, new office space,” Pielsticker said. “It’s about winning back their workforce.”
Video: Timelapse of Downtown Tulsa Building 222 North Detroit (Formerly WPX Energy Headquarters)
Photos: Tulsa’s Coolest Office Spaces for 2022