Presented By: Merritt 7
Lucky 7: Tenants Find a Winning Deal in Suburban Markets
Merritt 7 in Connecticut offers unique opportunity tailor-made for the new normal in CRE
When it comes to business, it seems that Norwalk merits a lot more talk.
As COVID-19 continues to cast uncertainty on the future of commercial real estate and work-from-home looks to become a larger and longer-term part of workplace planning, tenants are looking to the suburbs outside of New York City in search of efficiency, flexibility, accessibility and modernity. Many companies are discovering the ideal business environment lives in the heart of Connecticut’s Fairfield County: Merritt 7 office park in Norwalk.
Spanning 22 acres and 1.4 million square feet of space across six buildings, Merritt 7 presents a one-of-a-kind office experience, including an array of amenities & services, curated lifestyle programming, and a plethora of indoor & outdoor common spaces. Buildings 501 and 601 are in the midst of a major capital improvement plan which includes a new 601 lobby and a variety of versatile, cutting-edge amenity spaces with joint indoor-outdoor access designed by renowned architectural firm Gensler, along with a recently upgraded outdoor plaza. The comprehensive improvements will expand a tenant’s workplace capacity, enabling reduced density and more social distancing without increasing their footprint and the cost of their leased space. The property’s numerous conference and lounge spaces are equipped with state-of-the-art AV and networking capabilities and can accommodate meetings or events from several to 250 people in a myriad of configurations. Buildings 501 and 601 currently have approximately 250,000 total square feet available, including a penthouse unit with space for a private roof terrace as well as a prominent signage and branding opportunity. Merritt 7 can accommodate a wide range of tenant needs, from 2,123 square-foot pre-builts to larger spaces that can be prepped for immediate and flexible occupancy.
“Merritt 7 has always been a spacious and highly-amenitized business destination, and these features are now even more attractive to firms as commercial real estate trends evolve, “ said Margaret Egan, Clarion Partners’ senior vice president of asset management. “The new indoor-outdoor amenity spaces and outdoor plaza between buildings 501 and 601 are tailor-made for a post-COVID office allowing tenants to spread out and de-densify when required. Extensive COVID-related protocols, including regular filter changes to our dual air, MERV-8 and 15 system, are now standard operating procedure and we are also exploring various health, wellness and safety designations to make tenants more comfortable returning to the Park. Merritt 7 tenants also benefit from long-standing institutional ownership and on-site, accessible and proactive Class A property management. We have worked diligently to develop lasting relationships with our occupants by providing top-tier service in a vibrant, efficient and collaborative work environment. Our management team consistently leverages extensive experience, while also remaining nimble and able to adapt and evolve rapidly, which has proven invaluable while addressing the COVID crisis.”
One of Merritt 7’s newest tenants, Forrester Research, signed a lease for 24,000 square feet and took occupancy this summer, and are enthusiastic about their new office. Jean Douglas, vice president of corporate services at Forrester, commented on the firm’s enthusiasm about their new office: ”We are excited to have access to all of the amenities the Merritt 7 campus has to offer, and the overall environment – from the open plaza, food services, and common spaces – will provide a great experience for our employees.”
CBRE first vice president Jacqueline Novotny also commented on the increased strength of the suburban market, noting at the Commercial Observer suburban office market virtual panel that, “If I’m a large user, I don’t want to start my lease if my employees can’t necessarily be in the workplace, and it will depend on when people feel comfortable returning to the workspace, which I do think we’re seeing — more in the suburban markets.”
Interest in Norwalk, located just one hour from NYC, represents part of a larger suburban renaissance, a trend which some have labeled ”Hipsturban”, with explosive growth in residential relocations, which precedes the subsequent office inquiries. As RXR Realty president, Mike Maturo recently said, “We’re seeing what I would call an acceleration of people moving to the suburbs for access to space and affordability. We’re seeing greater traffic in our apartment projects and in our condo projects.”
As reported in The New York Times, Fairfield County has seen a 77 percent increase in home sales compared to last year, while hedge fund and private equity executives were among the first to move their offices from Manhattan to the suburbs. These office spaces are closer to where they live, easily accessible by car and are significantly less expensive. According to Cushman & Wakefield, asking rents for Class A office space in Connecticut were about 40 percent less per square foot in than those in Midtown Manhattan as of August.
The property is located immediately off the Merritt Parkway in close proximity to the vibrant cultural and lifestyle attractions in SoNo. Merritt 7 also has its own on-site Metro North station currently undergoing significant upgrades, and will provide direct access from the Merritt 7 campus to the station platform via a new pedestrian bridge.
Major tenants at Merritt 7 include Hearst, Datto, EMCOR Group, M&T Bank, Mercer, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (Mass Mutual), HomeServe, Financial Accounting Foundation, Jarden, Ipsos Group, IBM, Aon, Xerox Corp., and Siemens.
For more information on amenities and opportunities available, visit Merritt7.com.