Office Break Rooms That Once Produced Gallons of Coffee Could Soon Yield Medical Breakthroughs

women around a table
Image via LinkedIn Sales Solutions at Unsplash.
Could your office's break room someday yield a medical breakthrough?

Office space that once produced things like ideas and strategies — and their kitchens that once bred weird things in the refrigerator and countless pots of coffee — could soon issue something else. Emptied by work-at-home employees, these sites are finding new purposes, writes Jake Blumgart for The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Landlords in their private moments will acknowledge that most companies will consume less space post-pandemic,” said Glenn Blumenfeld, principal with Tactix Real Estate Advisors.

Filling that “less space” has led to some creative thinking, including residential and life-sciences usages.

Apartments are now becoming a possibility for repurposing unused floor space.

But residential needs and preferences differ from commercial ones. The “depth” of a proposed floor plan renovation can be an impediment. 

“In urban environments, you can convert a lot better than in suburban environments,” said Michael McCloskey, principal at the architecture firm Bernardon. “In suburban markets, land costs are lower and you have the ability to spread out and get bigger floor plates than in most urban environments. They go wider than taller.” 

However, he added that higher-end suburban locations, such as King of Prussia, should fare well during renovations, compared with giant offices in rural, campus-like settings. 

For those complexes, laboratory space for biotech, pharmaceuticals, and other life sciences are viable alternatives. 

“In Philadelphia, a saving grace is really the life sciences,” said Blumenfeld. 

Read more about office space repurposing in The Philadelphia Inquirer.