The Shift in Industrial

Industrial is not just the boring box anymore. Over the past few decades, Industrial has been growing. What once was considered basic is now being elevated and that’s exciting!


Dallas has long been a great hub of Industrial due to its centralized location. For decades, O’Brien has been building industrial buildings in Dallas, but the recent growth is bringing something new. New tenants are taking over established spaces and those new tenants are bringing their own ideas for development, their own processes, their own innovation, and their own ideas for the overall design. 


The result is an exciting expansion of new industrial buildings and revitalization of existing Industrial buildings. 


Over the past year, COVID highlighted the importance of Industrial. Between the production and transportation of so many essential products, the country began to not take for granted the role Industrial facilities play in our society. 


The increased attention is part of Industrial companies wanting to celebrate who they are. That often means putting some additional resources and effort into creating special spaces for their employees. 

Until recently, you might think of Industrial as warehouses, maybe a storage facility, or a simple building – but it’s not like that any longer. Now it encompasses data centers with heated and cooled areas combined with Class A office onsite. It’s no longer just the back of house that does X, Y, Z – and then on the front side a little office to welcome people with a few parking spots. 


The buildings being built today are very complicated. The tenants are done with the boring box and want to build something special that they can share with their employees and vendors. This is leading to a lot of growth of interiors in the industrial market.


There is a growing desire for companies to brand their Industrial spaces. So they’re adding a lot of materials and textures and ideas to the design. They want to know, “How do we stand out?” and not just how much square footage we have or how many dock doors we have. The results are really fun spaces, especially related to the front end and the office areas for end-users. 


Over the years, O’Brien has learned to do a lot with paint and carpet to try to be creative. When you’ve got a corporate client going into a high rise office building, there’s a different expectation of design and finish out. But when a corporate client is going into a big box, it can be challenging to envision that space in a different light. 


A huge help in this shift of thinking is to get beyond just talking about it and finding ways to help the client visualize their space. Once they can see what is possible, it’s amazing how much easier it is for a client to embrace.


The “boring box” label that once described the industrial building of DFW is a thing of the past. Today’s Industrial buildings find ways to combine the most sophisticated technology in any building with Class A office space. The results are a new breed of Industrial buildings that are rapidly spreading throughout DFW.

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