Would anyone want this office?
Adding Value to Existing Workspaces.
Why does it matter?
If you have commercial property, where you need to attract occupiers or tenants, you will need to understand what these people are looking for.
01 / Presence and Address
The approach to any building is critical in establishing value in the mind of the potential tenant. Everyone knows that in property location is everything, and it follows that address is next on the list.
Anything you can do to improve a properties address, is worth pursuing. If the building front door is onto a secondary street, is there any way of moving the front door to the primary street? This will make a big difference to how the entire building is perceived.
It is also critical that the entrance is in scale with both the street and the building; a mean entrance will lower the value of all the space within.
02 / Common parts
A common mistake is to view the areas that cannot be rentalised as a pure cost. Taking this approach can lead to a ‘bare minimum’ specification, in an effort to reduce ‘unnecessary expense’. Although this makes sense on the spreadsheet, if you’re not careful you can devalue the Net lettable area.
The places to make sure you get right are the lighting and toilets. Finishes generally, should be simple and robust, but with good lighting these areas should feel open and generous. With the toilets, through necessity you will have other finishes like tiles and vanity units; these are the area to focus attention. By selecting high quality products here you add character, and bring durability in the areas that take the most hammering. The loos will always be the first places to look tired, and the higher quality finishes on the floors, splashbacks and vanity units will be money well spent.
03 / Character
The key idea here is to maximise what you’ve got. Existing buildings all come with their own story; don’t shy away from this, or cover it up. Gone are the days of generic floor plates being desirable, what was once considered difficult or awkward spaces (think lower ground floor) are now becoming increasingly desirable to creative companies. And in case you’re wondering, all companies are now seeking to be creative companies.
New elements to the building, like lifts and common parts, should be as up to date as they can be, unless there is a strong reason to do otherwise the lettable spaces should show as much of the existing building character as is possible. Money spent covering up rough concrete slabs etc. will be money wasted. No-one want to pay a premium for generic, but they just might fall in love with the unique.
04 / Wellness
As ‘wellness’ races up the agenda of what tenants want, existing buildings can be subtly adjusted to capture this.
The area to focus on for maximum value is health benefits that building can provide. The key idea here is that people in the building are given the encouragement and support to stay active during their time at work.
The first area of attention is ancillary space; there should be generous amount of cycle storage, changing and shower facilities. These have traditionally been viewed as expensive ‘nice to haves’, but if you want to be able to compete with newer buildings, this is one area that will catch you out. These are now ‘must haves’ for most companies, dodge them at your peril.
The second area is external space and planting. If the building has any external space make sure you maximise its potential. This can be as simple as adding planting, and a irrigation system, and will be a big plus to potential tenants.
05 / Flexibility
As the workplace changes with the proliferation of technology into all aspects of our lives, and the increasingly flexible working patterns of company employees, the workplace needs to be contemporary yet easily adaptable. Typically a lot of this will be provided with the fit out, but there are some key things to watch for in the base build.
Your environment control strategy should be able to cope with compartmentalization and back again. A contemporary workplace will not be static, and for a base build to be attractive to an F&M manager, it should be designed to cope with ongoing adaptability.