CBE and the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics were approached by Spieker properties in June of 1999 to help them better understand the emerging needs of leading-edge office tenants. Spieker Properties is one of the nation’s largest publicly traded real estate companies, with over 40 million square feet of commercial properties located in California and the Pacific
Spieker was specifically interested in ensuring the long-term value of their existing portfolio of space, and making sure that they were looking at the correct mix of services and infrastructure to appeal to a new profile of client in high technology, bio-technology and service sector industries. Specifically, would these leading-edge industries be interested in leading-edge building and office technologies?
CBE was interested in the study because it gave our Center an opportunity to talk with end-users about the kinds of new technologies and building management practices they have been considering for their buildings, and to put into context the desirability and marketability of these technologies and practices.
The Office Tenant Needs Study was organized around focus groups of 8 to 15 people. Participants were selected jointly by CBE staff and Spieker Properties based on business sector (high-tech, bio-tech or services) and company profile (size, geographic scope, revenues and space use).
Focus groups are rarely a definitive sample of user attitudes and needs. What they offer instead is a reality check on assumptions we may be working under in our research, and (if they work well) a vibrant "brainstorming" approach to issue identification and clarification.