Building Out Fort Worth – Traditional space to open design and beyond

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By Valle Caldwell

We’re in an interesting time here in Fort Worth.

City officials have done a great job of increasing awareness about the opportunities and benefits for companies to establish a presence here. We’re attracting the attention of many newer, trendier national companies interested in moving to North Texas. Fort Worth Betsy Price herself has been quoted as saying our city has one of the fastest growing populations of working millennials.

It’s this renewed energy, investment and creativity that I think is going to drive the trends we are going to see in design and layout of the places we work in the very near future here in Fort Worth.

I’ve been doing Project and Design Services (PDS) for JLL for over two decades, and Fort Worth has a feel and working attitude that’s all its own. It’s very traditional, and the majority of the legacy environments, I would guess about 70 percent, we work in reflect that – lots of individual offices for leadership, hard walls and dedicated conference spaces. The art or murals on the wall usually an homage to our rustic roots of Fort Worth.

With the increased attention and new companies coming to the market, things are beginning to change a little. Firms that are based outside of our area have their own brand standards of what they believe an office environment should look like. These concepts reflect their corporate values while providing their employees an ideal work environment with certain amenities to help them be more productive and attract talent. Perhaps less dedicated office space and more open works areas to encourage collaboration amongst their team members. Though a bit more progressive, they still make careful efforts to incorporate accents around the office that reflect our city, from art that nods to the oil fields to the color of the wood.  You see Fort Worth “winks” throughout.

Then, you have the new generation of workspace, bringing something unique to our city in efforts to attract the growing young, millennial workforce. Open workspaces with open seating and few, if any, dedicated offices. They embrace the collaborative work environment. These offices “disrupt” the notion of traditional office space, allowing them to stand apart and allows them another means to promote themselves.

There’s a juxtaposition in Fort Worth. Not long from now in the Fort Worth Stockyards, we’re going to see cattle drives going down the street from the windows of new high tech work spaces; a hybrid of our traditions and the next generation.

As Fort Worth continues to grow over the next few years, these new perspectives will continue to impact where we work and the makeup of our market. Time will tell if we are still a large city with a small town feel.

Valle Caldwell is a Senior Vice President for the JLL Project and Development Services team. 

The 2018 JLL United States and Canada Office Fit Out Guide, comparing build out costs across office styles, space quality and complexity, is available for download today.