In recent years the retail facilities in Seoul’s office buildings in Seoul have undergone a significant transformation in terms of their size, content, and function. 

Retail facilities traditionally served as a supplementary component of an office building and were there to support the needs of the staff of traditional office tenants. Most elements consisted of dining and banking facilities located in the basement and on ground floors catering to office employees within the building and those working in the immediate surrounding area.

The increase in space allocated to retail components in newer office buildings resulted in these supporting elements taking on a more prominent role in shaping the building’s overall identity. This trend saw the provision of more sophisticated dining options in the basement along with casual restaurants and general merchandise shops. Ground floors typically feature cafes, coffee and dessert shops with high visibility to attract staff working in the building and also those in nearby locations along with the floating population in the wider area. 

Retail facilities then began expanding their presence beyond the basement and ground floors. Health clinics, retail banking and other conventional options such as F&B and various small shops across a range of sectors gradually filled spaces on the second and third floors.

The latest trend has seen the retail components of office buildings evolve to take on a more independent function and identity of their own. This special report by CBRE Research explains the significance of this trend and identifies the main drivers of this phenomenon in the context of the Seoul office market and structural changes in consumer behaviour. It then assesses the actual impact on office properties and provides a number of key factors for landlords to consider before adopting this strategy.