Consolidating a growing university's leased properties to create a central academic hub.

An overabundance of space

A university located in a dense, expensive metropolitan center held several leases, most of which were nearing the end of their terms. The university’s space needs had changed over the last several years with the adoption of remote learning and working from home, and it was interested in reducing annual lease expenses through the optimization of its real estate holdings.

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When the pandemic reached the United States, these trends were immediately intensified, and the university decided it was time to take decisive action.

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Quantifying utilization through data

At this time, the university lacked a centralized system for tracking the use of various spaces across leased buildings, making it impossible to accurately gauge their needs. Having already been engaged to manage the renovations of multiple university buildings and the development of a new site, DBI commenced a planning effort to optimize the real estate portfolio. DBI conducted a detailed analysis of the how the university was utilizing leased spaces across several different buildings, while also examining opportunities to lease new space in occupied buildings. Working with an architect over the course of four months, DBI prepared a data-driven restacking study that quantified the size, utilization, and lease terms for each space, as well as the logistical requirements for moving and resizing. A corresponding illustrative programming plan was prepared that clearly presented the findings and recommendations of the study.

Consolidation to serve academic and financial goals

The outcome of this engagement was the determination that the university could indeed achieve the same baseline level of productivity in less space, while better serving their institutional goals by consolidating all academic and administrative operations into one building. The university subsequently terminated three leases in different buildings, thereby reducing their overall footprint by 65,000 square feet.

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Please note: While details have been altered to protect the anonymity of our clients, the nature and outcome of each case study remains accurate.