Clayton, Missouri’s Forsyth Pointe is a 1-million-square-foot office complex that has changed the city’s skyline, and given building and construction professionals many ideas for future projects. What lessons should people learn from this ultra-upscale development to apply to other modern building enclosures?

Businesses Will Pay Top-Dollar Rent for Attractive Amenities

When the COVID-19 pandemic left office buildings barely occupied and drove a transition to remote working, many thought leaders wondered if the end of physical office spaces was near or past. However, the strong response to Forsyth Pointe units shows the prematurity of those predictions.

Jim Koman is the CEO and founder of ElmTree Funds — the commercial real estate agency associated with Forsyth Pointe. Koman’s company has an office on the 11th floor of Forsyth Pointe. Rather than looking out the windows and seeing pavement or parked cars, this executive can gaze at a putting green, the gym and a terraced area with fire pits.

The perks continue inside ElmTree Funds’ 19,000-square-foot office building in Forsyth Pointe. Occupants enjoy a cafe with free food and drinks, and access to a pool table. There is also space for sitting or having breakout sessions. Some units cost $50 per square foot to lease. However, the complex’s full occupancy suggests decision-makers will pay those prices if the amenities make the expenses worthwhile.

Spending Differently While Keeping Employees Happy

A 2022 study revealed fitness and wellness perks were the most popular among employees from brands of all sizes. However, it also indicated businesses spend $67 to $177 monthly per worker on those perks. Since Forsyth Pointe has an on-site gym, that amenity could allow organizations to save on previous membership expenditures.

The Importance of Eco-Friendliness and Nature Access 

Forsyth Pointe’s design features offer the equivalent of Silver LEED accreditation, meaning it scores 50 to 59 points for sustainability, biodiversity and other eco-friendly aspects. Many people want to work in sustainable spaces for enterprises that are making meaningful and positive differences for the planet. This commercial structure lets them do so and includes thoughtful features, such as electric vehicle charging stations and a green roof.

Consequently, leaders from the companies occupying the space can back up claims that they’re making environmentally sound decisions. One study of millennials in the workforce found 75 percent would be willing to earn less while working for socially and environmentally responsible businesses. That indicates employers may find it easier to source and retain workers by emphasizing the office building’s eco-friendliness.

Besides offering planet-focused construction, Forsyth Pointe helps occupants take nature-filled breaks. The seventh-floor garden terrace gives people an accessible place to enjoy fresh air in 1 acre of green space.

Perks within walking distance of modern building enclosures also matter. This complex is directly adjacent to Shaw Park — the city’s oldest and largest such attraction. Visitors can enjoy the outdoor pavilion, inclusive playground, plaza and century garden. There are also numerous recreational options, such as the 10 tennis courts, or the competition and diving pools.

Shaw Park is part of the Centennial Greenway, which spans part of Interstate 70 and gives people easy access to paved trails. Whether someone wants to have an active lunch break or enjoy some time in nature after work, Forsyth Pointe’s excellent location makes it easy to do either option.

Resetting Time Perceptions Through Nature Enjoyment

An interesting 2024 study suggested nature could help people have healthier time-related perceptions. Modern life emphasizes minutes and seconds measured on clocks, which can elevate people’s stress levels. Specific jobs require employees to work quickly and maintain maximum productivity to remain valuable assets for their employers. However, brief periods outside could encourage people to remember life is about more than getting as much done as possible.

Combining nature access and modernity is an excellent way to cater to today’s tenants. Forsyth Point’s full occupancy shows people’s strong interest in up-to-date facilities that allow them to connect with the outdoors.

Experiential and Aspirational Approaches Drive Leasing Interest 

Before construction workers finish, it can be hard for people to imagine what it might be like to occupy a structure. That’s particularly true with the Forsyth Pointe project, which started in 2020 — when many households were staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wondering when or if life might begin feeling normal again.

Real estate consultants, marketers and other professionals tasked with getting people interested in becoming Forsyth Pointe tenants knew they had to focus on the building’s experiential aspects. The lobby sets the tone with its 85-foot digital art wall. Then, the modern air filtration system and touch-free technology for bathroom doors and elevators emphasize how building planners paid attention to the more minor but important ways for people to stay healthy.

Since some people could not travel to Missouri to see the construction in progress, the team created detail-rich digital assets, such as property videos and interactive floor plans. That decision also increased interest among tenants living in other states with little or no knowledge of the surrounding area.

Cultivating Brand Recognition and Delivering High-Quality Experiences

This approach highlighted how Forsyth Pointe is a brand, not just a building. More importantly, the digital assets encouraged people to visualize the memorable experience of going to work in the building every day. One current tenant that leases two floors in the building acted on a detailed future vision by bringing two formerly separate teams together. Those employees can get to know each other better while using the dozens of collaborative spaces through the leased space.

By including a juice bar, retail units and other amenities, Forsyth Pointe’s developers catered to the flight-to-quality phenomenon, shaking up the commercial real estate market and setting the building apart from competing structures. These characteristics appeal to visitors, employees and corporate leaders.

Applying Lessons to Future Modern Building Enclosures

The world has changed significantly over the past several years. During that period, many people developed clearer life aspirations, including what to expect or demand from their workplaces. The upscale features throughout Forsyth Point relate to many of those needs.

People no longer accept working in cramped, outdated offices with artificial light and few windows. They seek environments that foster creative, clear thinking while providing ample opportunities for collaboration, networking and team building. Today’s developers must understand these changing preferences, and they can use this Missouri office complex for inspiration and to learn what works well.