Maximizing Rooftops

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Turning Gray Into Green’: Maximizing Rooftops For Long-Term Value

In today’s real estate market, having usable rooftop space — or a lack thereof — can make or break a building.

Once viewed as an optional amenity, rooftops have become instrumental in attracting and retaining tenants, whether in multifamily, hotel or office buildings. Rooftop amenity spaces create an environment where people can come together and socialize, work or relax with outdoor furniture, fire pits, coworking spaces and even restaurants and bars. 

As amenity decks continue to gain popularity among tenants and developers alike, Tournesol Siteworks, a California-based commercial landscape product manufacturer, works with landscape architects and developers to deliver impactful rooftop spaces. 

“Thoughtfully designed rooftops with landscape elements are turning gray into green both from a monetization standpoint and an environmental one,” Tournesol Siteworks Head of Marketing Carla Dougher said.

Adding planters with native plants, vines, grasses, vegetable gardens and trees not only beautifies the space but can also help cool and shade the building and support pollinators such as birds, insects and bees, which helps to improve biodiversity in urban areas. Strategically placed planters and trellises also function as tools to create spaces and hide unsightly utilities commonly found on roofs.

While many commercial buildings have usable rooftop spaces, they are often underutilized, Dougher said. Rooftops were traditionally home to large utilities including HVAC systems, generators and other infrastructure, and property owners typically left the space largely unused because of these unsightly structures. 

Elevate the Tenant Experience with A Highly Amenitized Rooftop

Nowadays, commercial tenants expect more from their spaces. A March report from JLL revealed that outdoor spaces are in high demand, perhaps even more so than any other building amenity. That’s where Tournesol enters the picture.

“A thoughtfully curated rooftop should seamlessly pair functionality with aesthetics,” Dougher said. 

Amenities such as lounge areas, outdoor dining tables, pools and shaded pavilions address the functional needs of a rooftop space, while flowers, plants, native grasses, gardens and ambient lighting humanize the space, she said.  

On average, buildings that have rooftop terraces see a 5% rental premium. Other common amenities in commercial buildings, such as fitness centers and electric vehicle chargers, yield considerably less. Adding the most value to the asset and driving up occupancy is of paramount importance when uncertainty afflicts the CRE market.

“Several factors contribute to the success of a rooftop space,” Tournesol Head of Sales John Denman said. “It starts with the architect or designer understanding the balance between amenity space and utility space. Products such as planters and trellises can play a large role in strategically concealing utility areas. Additionally, more municipalities are requiring stormwater or bioretention planters as part of the project.” 

Our forward-thinking team is very intentional to ensure we are putting our clients in the best position to succeed.

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