Making Properties Pop

One of the hottest tenant trends going? Pop-Ups.

Bottom Line Yoga recently opened a pop-up yoga and wellness studio to serve as a wellness program in the Civic Opera Building.

Pop-ups. They have become a phenomenon in several major cities. From pop-up shops that capitalize on holiday sales to pop-up restaurants that are impressing foodies from coast to coast, this trend is here to stay — even in traditional office buildings.

Today’s competitive real estate market — coupled with increasingly selective tenants seeking work-life balance — is driving many property managers to find creative (and effective) uses of excess space. Businesses seeking commercial office space are no longer solely focused on location, location, location. Location is important, of course, but convenient access to amenities has become a close second. In particular, savvy millennials, and therefore their employers, are looking to incorporate their daily routines into their work-life structure.


Convenience Is King

As corporations look to attract and retain talent in today’s competitive marketplace, amenities are critical. More importantly, in today’s 24/7/365 work environment, convenient access to wellness programs is no longer an option. From golf simulators and yoga studios to blood drives, flu shot clinics and vending machines with healthy, fresh food, offering a one-stop-shop experience is more important to today’s landlords than ever before.


Mobility Movement

Mobile retailers are ideal when it comes to flexible or unused space, and more and more retailers today are establishing mobile shops. > On the landlord side, mobility of pop-up amenities allows for flexibility in leasing with a modest build-out investment. If a potential tenant is interested in space occupied by a pop-up concept, the pop-up can relocate to another vacant space fairly seamlessly, ensuring that building space is optimally utilized.

On the retailer side, space that is a blank canvas equates to options. A “white box” space — often with exposed cement floors, basic light fixtures and no added build-out — makes for a convenient addition of furniture and decor, all of which is easily transferred when a move becomes necessary due to leasing requirements. And starting with a blank canvas allows the retailer or service provider to truly shape the space.


Costly Considerations

Understanding the tenant mix of a region is difficult. Even a temporary retailer can fail when inserted into a tenant mix that does not blend with demographic needs. For a pop-up retailer in particular, knowledge of the desired tenant demographic is crucial. A yoga and wellness studio, for example, could require 20% of building demographics to include millennial women, its primary target audience. Retailers and service providers considering a pop-up concept should outline very specific location “must-haves” when searching for an ideal building. Understanding the industries that the target demographic tends to gravitate toward is helpful to the search.


Case in Point

JLL, a professional services and investment management company specializing in real estate, has embraced several pop-up concepts in the Civic Opera Building, 20 N. Wacker Dr. in Chicago, including Bottom Line Yoga, which offers building tenants a daily schedule of yoga and group fitness classes, meditation, naps, massage, healthy events, a quiet workspace and corporate wellness consulting. JLL also brings in Fooda, a pop-up that serves healthy and well-priced meals from local restaurants. For special occasions, amenities like a chocolate shop or floral boutique are brought in for limited engagements. The property management team focuses on services that make tenants’ lives easier, creating an experience centered on “the whole human.”

Beyond retailers and service providers, “raw space” can be utilized for events, photo shoots and commercial filming.


The Bottom Line

Creative use of space, like pop-up amenities, is a win-win-win — for property managers, retailers and most importantly tenants. When executed well, pop-up concepts can enhance a property’s overall tenant mix while creating a positive and progressive work-life experience for tenants.


Lauren Goggins is founder and director of Bottom Line Yoga ( Hope Tate is general manager, JLL (

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