The first panel session of the day features several top local architects, designers, builders and developers. (The broker/owner panel featuring Jack Keenan begins at 8:45 a.m.)
8:05 a.m. — Perkins + Will’s Gina Berndt says high-tech firms are looking for “authentic, highly collaborative and highly ‘crave-able’ spaces.”
8:10 a.m. — Modular Architects’ Mark Bassil says collaboration technology like social networking is driving interior design of the office of the future.
8:15 a.m. — Skender Construction’s Justin Brown: “‘Green’ means a lot of different things depending on the company.”
8:18 a.m. — Berndt on “material health”: “Who’s going to argue with using building materials that are healthier, less harmful and more sustainable?”
8:25 a.m. — Centrim Properties’ Michael McLean is now talking about his firm’s new tech-centric office development, Bradley Business Center.
8:35 a.m. — McLean on the future of traditional office space: “There’s no question that traditional, Class-A CBD office buildings are going to continue to thrive, but the nature of the workforce is changing and the rents that those kinds of gorgeous glass buildings demand might not be justifiable or necessary for many different types of employees working in Chicago today.”
The second and final panel discussion of the day is beginning momentarily. Featured speakers include JLL’s Jack Keenan, 1871 Chicago’s Kevin Willer, Friedman Properties’ Jason Friedman and GrubHub co-founder Mike Evans.
8:50 a.m. — Willer on the Chicago tech scene: “This is not 12 years ago. This is not the dot-com boom and there hopefully won’t be a bust. People are focusing now on creating real companies with real value and we have all the pieces in place here in Chicago to become a real entrepreneurial hub.”
8:55 a.m. — Willer: “It’s all about using new technology platforms to solve old-line business problems in fields like healthcare, travel, financial services, marketing, hospitality, etc.”
9 a.m. — Keenan on what constitutes a “tech firm”: “Every single firm that we represent today is a tech firm in many respects. The CTO used to sit in the corner and nobody really interacted with them. Now they’re out in front driving strategy.”
9:05 a.m. — Willer on 1871: “We wanted to find a building with a huge floorplate because we needed to be on one floor. We wanted to be close to transportation and we needed an owner who understood our vision and The [Merchandise] Mart certainly did.”
9:10 a.m. — Evans on GrubHub’s impending move downtown (to Burnham Center at 111 W. Washington) from the North Side: “As we were talking to different owners, we found that there were some who were more open to working with tech firms and others who were less. We chose Burnham Center — in part — because of that owner’s openness.”
9:10 a.m. — Keenan on what tech companies want today: “Before, space was just space. Now it ties hand-in-hand with a company’s culture.”
9:15 a.m. — Willer on what startups need: “They need an eco-system. They need access to peer collaboration. They need mentoring.”
9:18 a.m. — Friedman on the demands being placed on owners by tech firms: “It’s a big challenge. We look at our tenants as partners who we have to underwrite and that can be difficult if we don’t understand their business. If nightclubs live in ‘dog years,’ tech firms can either be like goldfish or bunny rabbits.”
9:23 a.m. — Keenan: “It’s incumbent upon all of us — particularly building owners — to support the tech community if we want these types of companies to stay here and grow rather than leaving for the coasts.”
9:27 a.m. — Evans on the design of GrubHub’s new space: “It’s a welcoming environment where it’s easy to collaborate, where you can eat lunch comfortably and stay and relax. The first things you see and understand when you come in is ‘open,’ ‘food,’ and ‘collaboration.’ There’s not a single personal office in the space. We have a roof deck where people can go outside to collaborate.”
9:30 a.m. — Friedman: “High tech firms typically don’t demand a lot of TI dollars, so there can be a lot of value to landlords because there’s not a lot of up-front deal costs.”