The future of offices after the pandemic looks healthy

SALT LAKE COUNTY – Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to work remotely and in hybrid work environments over the past two years, a Utah commercial real estate mogul said Friday that he is expects demand for office space and traditional workplaces to remain high in the future.

Brandon Fugal, president of Colliers International in Utah, said the state and the Wasatch Front in particular continue to be in a period of unprecedented commercial and industrial construction and expansion.

“We’ve never seen so much new construction on our horizon,” Fugal said as he toured a KSL team through Zions Bancorporation’s under-construction 400,000 square foot technology campus in Midvale. “We are on the largest single-phase office campus ever built in Utah’s history.”

Fugal said it also looks like the influx of new businesses from out of state, as well as existing businesses looking for more attractive places to work, will continue to fuel demand.

“We saw strong upward pressure on rental rates,” said Fugal, who also acknowledged that rising construction costs had also been factored in.

Little did he know, however, that employers would seek to persist with remote working long after whatever pandemic was over.

“Companies are finding it difficult to maintain any kind of accountability, or their unique company culture in a remote work environment,” Fugal said. “It’s just not sustainable, which makes our office spaces more important than ever.”

Fugal said he suspects many companies will continue to move towards more attractive, benefits-filled work environments as they bring their employees back.

“It’s not just about having the best space, it’s about having the right amenities associated with that space in order to attract talent,” he said.

He said Utah continues to overtake other states as a location for new businesses and industries, and he believes the market is “positioned for success.”

“This 400,000 square foot campus under construction is a good indication of what you can expect in the future,” Fugal said.

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