Last week I was with a client looking at office space out in Doral. We were the very first prospect to visit a new amenity center at one of the properties. It was very cool, and even I was impressed — I am a bit jaded about amenities.
Don’t get me wrong, amenities can be important. Conference rooms, security, on-site food service are all useful to many tenants. We toured this amenity center which included a huge fitness center that rivaled any for-profit gym, conference center area that could handle over 100 when rooms are combined and even a rec room that has a pool table. I have seen my fair share of rooftop terraces that feature seating areas and outdoor bars for potential parties. There are buildings that offer free shuttle service to nearby restaurants or other locales. So why am I jaded about amenities?
Because I know that sex sells and in commercial real estate, amenities are part of the sex appeal a project can use to attract prospective tenants. Commercial landlords are taking note of the amenities that residential developers are using to lure residents and adapting them to the business world.
When I tour a building with a client and we pop in to see these amenities, they are usually empty…..just the way the landlord likes them. Landlords don’t mind lightly used amenities. Less wear and tear. If the gym is crowded or the conference rooms fully booked, they lose allure for the prospective tenant. Also, that “free” conference room isn’t free. It’s part of your operating expenses. You are paying for these amenities whether you use them or not. This is something to think about when discussing operating expenses during your lease negotiations.
Will you use that conference center? Do you need it for quarterly training or other purposes? That’s wonderful because you won’t have to pay for an off-site location, however, what if the landlord decides to pull the plug on your conference center in Year 3 of your lease? The fitness center could potentially be a great employee recruitment and retention tool, but what if the landlord cuts the size in half and suddenly it’s overcrowded? These are questions that can be addressed in your lease if your company is a significant size to the landlord, and it’s also something for you to think about regardless.
When I am working with a client and we see these fabulous amenities, I make sure to ask them how they would incorporate these conveniences into their everyday business. This helps me identify other properties potentially and it is useful during the negotiation phase with that landlord because just because sex sells doesn’t mean we have to buy it, right?
If you are looking for a new office or just want to renew your existing lease, let me help you. Contact me today for your free lease analysis.