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  • Writer's pictureStacy Patrick

November Commercial Real Estate Newsletter


What's in this issue?

> People-first trend drives amenities in today's industrial buildings > Construction starts to show signs of declining > The future is electric: EV construction surges


People-first trend drives amenities in today's industrial buildings In the past, industrial workplaces were designed primarily for production efficiency and productivity, with more emphasis on output than employee well-being. In today’s competitive hiring environment, however, better recognition of worker needs has spurred many corporations to include people-focused amenities such as comfortable break rooms, dedicated outdoor spaces, snack stations and fitness centers. “Thoughtfully implemented amenities help reduce burnout, minimizing turnover rates, mitigating workplace stress and boosting morale,” advises Jordana Rothberg on “Despite how important designing for the health and safety of industrial workers is, the conversation is just now gaining momentum.” In other points from Rothberg’s article:

  • Well-designed break rooms where workers can connect — and physically and mentally separate themselves from work — are key.

  • Other amenity options include computer kiosks for employee use; relaxation centers; saunas; red-light therapy rooms; massage chairs; snack bars with healthy eating options; free coffee bars; luxury and/or private restrooms; and company-specific bus stops for commuters.

  • Companies might map out improvements over time via annual capital expenditures.

  • Architects can factor in how to reconfigure existing space and take advantage of underutilized areas.

  • Larger industrial developments might house one centralized hub with various secondary buildings for amenities.

  • Firms can strive to acknowledge diversity through amenities such as gender-neutral bathrooms.



Construction starts to show signs of declining August Dodge Momentum Index (DMI) numbers show tight lending standards and high interest rates are suppressing nonresidential construction projects. The indicator of construction spending for U.S. nonresidential building dropped 6.5% to 178, down from July’s revised reading of 190.3. The commercial side fell 1.6%; analysts say strong hotel planning compensated for weak office-sector activity. The institutional side dropped 14.8% due to declines in education, healthcare and amusement projects. In other news from the report:

  • In August, planning began on 22 projects valued at $100 million-plus. Industrial plans involved the $420 million Westborough Life Sciences Park in Westborough, MA, and the $168 million Freeman Health System Hospital in Pittsburg, KS. Commercial plans involved the fifth phase of the Northern Virginia Gateway Data Center in Fredericksburg, VA, and the Kroger’s Distribution Center in Las Vegas.

  • Year over year, the DMI was still 4% higher than in August of 2022, with the commercial sector up 4%, the institutional sector up 7%.

  • The remainder of 2023 should produce flat or lower DMI numbers, but a stronger economy should boost next year’s outcome.


The future is electric: EV construction surges At least $150 billion worth of U.S. manufacturing plants are now under construction in response to demand for electric vehicles, according to a September CBRE report. The projects span 16 states, with some spurred by government incentives. ​​​​​​​


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