In May, the first Developing Leaders event in more than a year was held at WAYLINE, a five-story, 123,000-square-foot building in Columbia Gateway, reimagined by Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT). This was the perfect project to choose as, prior to the pandemic, COPT was in the midst of incorporating new elements, including outdoor spaces and bringing natural elements inside, in its mission to utilize a biophilic design to support employee wellness, engagement and productivity.

The building includes handcrafted furniture, expansive windows providing voluminous natural light, native plants contained within beds, a yoga lawn and a basketball court. A Sweetgreen Outpost provides a convenient and healthy food amenity to tenants, with employees able to place their order in the morning and receive a made-to-order meal by lunchtime.

“Our members received a tour of the newly built-out space but, more importantly, we heard directly from the development team to learn about the process and the mind-set when repositioning this asset,” explained Paul Giulio, Development Manager at Hill Management Services and Chair of the Developing Leaders Committee. “It was a captivating and high-value presentation and we were able to interact with the development team with additional questions.”

“We were in the full throes of our repositioning efforts when the pandemic hit but we continued on our path and completed the retrofit in February,” explained Krysta Herring, Vice President – Asset Management and Leasing, Corporate Office Properties Trust who, together with John Hermann of COPT, lead the presentation and tour. “We successfully elevated leasing to approximately 80% and believe this highly-amenitized and dynamic workplace environment is what companies will be looking for in the future. As organizations grapple with the work-from-home model, we believe that projects such as WAYLINE will provide the additional degrees of comfort and peace of mind needed to lure employees back.”

“Sweetgreen is the perfect partner given its emphasis on the use of seasonal ingredients and locally-sourced food items, as well as its made-from-scratch preparation model,” Herring added.     

The Developing Leaders has resumed its programming with the next event scheduled in August for its annual Crab Feast with commercial real estate veterans.