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Workspace conference coming

CREJ is bringing a Workplace conference to the Kimpton Hotel Born on May 13.

Given the strength of Denver’s economy, the office workspace has never been more important.

“I think the workplace experience is the only differentiator if the playing field is level in terms of salary and benefits,” Gillian Hallock Johnson told Rebchook Real Estate Corner.

Johnson, a principal at Eppstein Uhen Architects, will be one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming 2019 Workplace & Interior Architecture Conference and Expo.

The workplace conference will be held from 7 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. on May 13 at the Kimpton Hotel Born at 1600 Welton St.


The Wilmer Hale reception area is an example of the type of cutting edge workspace available in Denver. Credit: Eppstein Uhen Architect

CREJ producing workplace conference

The workplace conference, produced by the Colorado Real Estate Journal, is expected to draw more than 300 interior designers and other workplace experts. It is anticipated to be the largest workplace conference in Colorado in 2019.

Topics at the workplace conference include:

  • Overviews of the workplace market and trends;
  • A furniture dealership perspective;
  • Brokers and end-users;
  • Tenant rep and corporate end-users;
  • Branding and differentiation;
  • Project management and tenant improvement costs;
  • Cutting edge technologies and hot new products;
  • Beyond binary beyond binary: Including the ungendered and gender-fluid population in your workplace and;
  • Thought leadership: Societal shifts and how they are manifested in the workplace today and what is the trajectory for the future.

Workspace is key

The workspace experience is a key element that defines the brand and culture of a company, Johnson said. And that is a tall task, especially that companies want to use office space in the most efficient manner.

“Designers are more challenged than ever,” Johnson said.


Shown is the reception area at Holland & Hart’s Denver office. Credit: Eppstein Uhen Architects

Indeed, the size of the footprint of the office  isn’t the most important feature of the workspace.

“There are creative ways for companies to reduce their real estate and maintain the human experience,” Johnson said.

Increasingly, she has noticed that if companies retrofit office space, they gut the entire space.

“If a company thinks they can just move a wall, re-arrange the furniture and make some cosmetic changes, they are likely to have a lot of attrition. There are some really beautiful and compelling workspaces out there.”

In fact, retrofitted space can be as nice if the company was starting with a “white box,” that is, a blank sheet, in a new building., she said.

Who’s Who of workspace experts

In addition to Johnson, other workspace experts participating in the conference include:

  • Carla Dore– President & CEO, Workplace Resource ;
  • Bob Deibel– CEO & Owner, OfficeScapes;
  • Matt Magrann– Co-Founder & CEO, Projex Inc.;
  • Katie Winter– Design Director, KIEDING;
  • Gregory Bante– Executive Managing Director, Savills
  • Melissa Clayton– Senior Vice President of Portfolio Management, Mercy Housing
  • Rick Door– Managing Principal, Cresa;
  • Workspace

    Gillian Hallock Johnson.

    Kacie Farrar– Designer, Gensler;

  • Abigail Plonkey– Founder, Chief Experience Curator, Maximalist ;
  • Drew Marlow, AIA, LEED® AP– Principal, Acquilano;
  • Heather Leslie– Principal, Task PM;
  • Lynn Deegan– Managing Director, Project Management, CBRE;
  • Iris Foster– Vice President, Project Management, Cresa Denver;
  • Pete Gillespie– President, EJCM, LLC ;
  • Jim Boots– President, Boots Construction Co.;
  • Kindell Williams,– Managing Principal, IA Interior Architects;
  • Rachel Sivak, NCIDQ, LEED Green Associate– Project Manager / Designer, Acquilano;
  • Abbie Reece– Designer, open studio | architecture
  • David Key, – Senior Designer, Associate, IA Interior Architects;
  • Jon Brooks,– Principal, AE Design Group ;
  • Steve Johnson– Principal, ADI Workplace Acoustics;
  • Martin Goldstein– Principal Architect, Venture Architecture;
  • Lynn Coit– President, Elsy Studios;
  • Angela Castleton– principal, Global Workplace Leader, DLR Group;
  • Susan Kohuth, – Principal, Interiors, OZ Architecture;
  • Janette Ray,– Principal, Davis Partnership Architects;
  • Richard Moore– Founder and President, Kestrel Design Group and;
  • Michelle Liebling – Studio Director, Principal, Gensler.

    An office suite at Vail Resorts’ headquarters in Denver. Credit:

Ideal time for workspace conference

This is the perfect time for the workspace conference, given how fast Denver is growing, according to Johnson.

“Denver is doing great,” Johnson said. “In many ways, it has a huge advantage over other cities, given the growth of lower downtown, RiNo and other neighborhoods in and at the edge of downtown.”

A key advantage of Denver is that it doesn’t have to worry too much about what is outside of the workspace.

“So many of these neighborhoods have view corridors, so you are guaranteed great views of the mountains,” Johnson pointed out.

Sustainability a given

It almost goes without saying that workspaces in Denver, whether new or retrofitted, will be green and sustainable.

“It is mission critical,” Johnson said. “Sustainability is in the DNA of the brand of most companies and of the designers themselves. Sustainability literally is something we do with every project.”

However, getting a green certification is less important, she said.

“Getting a certification can really delay the build-out of the workspace, costing money,” Johnson said. “What is driving sustainability in the workspace is being a good corporate citizen and saving money, not getting a certification.”


The Liberty Global cafeteria. Credit: Eppstein Uhen Architects

If you scratch the surface of just about any deal, there is a story behind it. The Rebchook Real Estate Corner looks at the what and who that make the Colorado commercial real estate industry spin every Tuesday and Thursday online at CREJ.com. The people behind the deals are passionate about what they do, whether they focus on offices, apartments, industrial, retail, land or lending. They also are passionate about their clients. Given the cyclical nature of commercial real estate, those who prosper in it have plenty of stories to tell. I hope to share them with you. 

This column includes news stories, in-depth looks at deals, profiles, Q&As and pieces on the latest trends. Contact John with story tips at JRCHOOK@gmail.com or 303-945-6865.

Kris Oppermann Stern is publisher and editor of Building Dialogue, a Colorado Real Estate Journal publication, and editor of CREJ's construction, design, and engineering section, including news and bylined articles. Building Dialogue is a quarterly, four-color magazine that caters specifically to the AEC industry, including features on projects and people, as well as covering trends…