Is Your Office a Pain in Your Neck?

At a recent Toastmaster meeting, my dear friend, Paula Hesch, office interior designer extraordinaire, gave a speech on “Office Ergonomics”, the applied science of people’s efficiency in their working environment. Paula had some great information on how to make your work space more comfortable that I wanted to share with you.

Paula has a similar situation as many of us office workers. She sits at a desk for long periods, does repetitive tasks (i.e. computer work, drawing) and she was even suffering from neck and shoulder pain. After trying massage, yoga and stretching classes, she realized that her work space was the source of her pain. She followed her own ergonomic findings and alleviated her physical discomfort by simply adjusting her work space using the following principals:

  • How is your work area set up, how do you sit and how long do you stay in one position?
  • Do you have a repetitive task movement and what is it (i.e. typing, phone)?
  • Define your work area lighting (is it enough), noise level (too much or too quiet) and temperature
  • What tools do you need to do your job and are they set up correctly?

Paula knows that most of us don’t know how to properly set up our work stations. She also recognizes that the office of today is constantly evolving because sometimes we are working at a standard desk in an office, or at home, a client’s conference room or even at a Starbucks. Paula noted that many people don’t realize that when your workspace is set up correctly, you can prevent injuries as well as physical and mental stress. Your chair needs to support you in certain ways, the desk needs to be a comfortable height, computer monitors need to be less than an arm’s length away with the top of the screen at eye level and the list goes on. Paula provided a great resource guide to help you on this.

Paula also recommends that everyone get out of their chair every 30-40 minutes to stretch and take a break. This helps both physically and mentally. I am a huge proponent of this. She talked about considering an adjustable desk so you can stand for some tasks and sit for others. The possibilities with today’s office furniture are limitless. I have made adjustments to my computer monitors and the results were immediate.

Take a look around your office and if you need help, give Paula a call for remodeling and give me a call when you need to renew or relocate your office.

Contact today’s contributor at:
Paula Hesch Designs
7430 S.W. 48th Street
Miami, Florida 33155
Phone: 305.740.4411

Posted in Commercial Interior Design, commercial real estate, General Business, Sustainable design, Toastmasters | Leave a comment

Construction Allowance or Turn-Key?

Oftentimes when I am negotiating a lease transaction, the question of tenant improvements (i.e. construction) is a primary focus. Some landlords will only provide an allowance, which caps the amount of money they will spend. Others will agree to a turn-key space once they are comfortable with the costs involved. Which one is best for the tenant? It depends.

If you agree to an allowance, than you need to do some homework BEFORE you sign a lease. You should have an acceptable floor plan or scope of work defined and this should to be priced out by at least one of the landlord’s primary contractors. The landlord should provide that estimate to you for your review and then you need to factor in soft costs (architectural, engineering costs, construction management fees, etc.). Hopefully the allowance covers all of those costs. If it doesn’t, then you may want to negotiate some more. If the allowance exceeds these costs, what happens to the excess? It depends on what is negotiated.

For a turn-key build-out, the landlord takes on all the risk of a mutually agreed upon scope of work or floor plan. The key to this is that your scope of work (preferably a floor plan) should have a tremendous amount of detail so nothing is left to chance. The benefit to the tenant is that the landlord takes on all the risk of the construction costs and potential change orders. The downside for the tenant is that the landlord keeps whatever savings it is able to obtain by cost-engineering the construction.

With construction costs continuing to rise, this issue is an important one that must be addressed. You need an expert to guide you through the decision-making process on what works best for you. Give me a call so I can help you navigate through this and other important issues relating to your office lease. I am well-regarded for my fresh, innovative approach to creating solutions for a multitude of clients.

Posted in Commercial Interior Design, General Business, Lease Renewal, Miami Office Space, Tenant Rep broker | Leave a comment

Successful Subleasing

00438585I am wrapping up a sublease in Doral and am in the midst of marketing a beautiful one on Brickell, and I have realized many folks don’t understand the benefits of a sublease and the steps necessary to execute a successful sublease.

The majority of commercial office leases in South Florida provide tenants with the right to sublease their space.  Oftentimes companies are acquired or there are changes to their business model that result in an office space no longer being needed, but there is still a lease in place.  In many cases, the best way to mitigate that rent liability is to sublease the space.  Here are my  5 tips to a successful sublease:

  1. Determine if furniture stays or goes; when will the space be available; and dig out your lease and a recent rent invoice. You will need these items when you meet with me.
  2. Call me. No, seriously, you will usually need a real estate broker with an expertise in office leasing to help you market the space and then guide you through the sublease process. An experienced broker will understand the current market, know your landlord and be able to provide some guidance about how long it will take and how much rent you may be able to recover.
  3. Once I find a prospect, you will need to move quickly because subtenants usually want to occupy immediately. Terms need to be agreed upon so a sublease document can be drafted and signed by both parties.
  4. Once the sublease document is signed by both parties, the Landlord reviews the document and then determines if it will consent. Usually you will have to pay for the Landlord’s attorney’s fees for this review and preparation of their consent.
  5. Your subtenant can move in only when ALL of the following have occurred: signed sublease, signed Landlord’s consent, subtenant has provided insurance certificates for themselves and their movers, subtenant has paid its security deposit and first month’s rent.

A sublease can have quite a few moving parts since so many parties are involved.  I have handled more than my fair share of subleases.  In fact, landlord leasing agents refer subleases to me frequently because they know that they can trust me to do the job efficiently and correctly.  Tenants are happy because I save them a lot of money.  If you have an office you no longer need, give me a call.  I can provide you with a free analysis of your situation.

Posted in commercial real estate, General Business, Lease Negotiations, Tenant Rep broker, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top 10 Office Tour Tips

detective_with_magnifying_glass_1I show office space every week and have done so for years. I have literally walked through hundreds if not thousands of office spaces and a myriad of buildings, so here are my top 10 tips for touring office space. Since you will be living in this space for years, you need to leave no stone unturned when selecting a new office.

1. Wear comfortable shoes when you go out to tour. There is no sense being miserable, so be comfortable and ready to walk – a lot.
2. Take notes, lots of notes, so you can remember what you see. Usually on a tour, I will limit it to about 4-5 buildings and maybe 8 spaces at the most. Most folks lose track of what they have seen after about 4-5 buildings. If you like a space, take pictures or a video to help jog your memory.
3. Begin your analysis from the moment you arrive at the building. How is the parking? Is the parking lot (or garage) clean? Is it easy to maneuver? Do you feel safe here?
4. How is the lobby and building common areas? Are they clean? Do you feel at home here? Is it appropriate for your business?
5. If you like the building, take a peek at the bathrooms. You will be using them every day if you move into the building, so check them out. Are they clean? Are they well maintained?
6. If you are looking at a space that was occupied a long time, it probably will not show very well. Ask to see a recently re-modeled space so you can see the quality of the landlord’s construction. Make sure you ask what is upgraded in the space and what is building standard.
7. What kind of amenities does the building have? Would you use them or are they just frills that you don’t need? What type of amenities do you require (on-site café, conference rooms)?
8. What type of improvements have been made to the building in the past 2 years? What is scheduled for the coming year? You don’t want a building with an old, leaky roof or a scary elevator, not to mention air-conditioning problems.
9. How is the building staff? Do they seem friendly and approachable? Is there an on-site manager? How many building engineers service the building? Do they have a day porter/matron to tidy up throughout the day?
10. If you really like the building and it has made the cut to one of your top choices, try commuting to the building both in the AM and PM. How is it to get in and out?

I help my clients find new office space, but I also help them negotiate a fair deal when renewing. Give me a call to discuss your unique situation. I am always happy to help.

Posted in commercial real estate, General Business, Miami Office Space, Tenant Rep broker, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Your Name In Lights


The term “signage” is just commercial real estate jargon for signs. Signs have the potential of being a key component in an office lease negotiation. I have negotiated all types during my career and here are some ways to get your name in lights.

Typically all landlords grant their tenants to have their company name in the building directory and a building standard sign at the suite entry. Sometimes you may want directional signs if your suite is down a hallway or if it is a large firm of professionals (I.e. attorneys, accountants or physicians), you need to insure you can get separate entries for each professional if needed. This is all routine, but needs to be addressed in the lease to insure you get what you want. But what about your name in shining lights?

The first point to understand is that building signs are a privilege granted at the sole discretion of the landlord and THEN it is subject to governmental approvals and permits. Second, if you get your building sign be prepared to pay for it. You will pay for the sign, its installation, maintenance and electrical consumption plus you may have to pay additional rent for the privilege of this building sign.

If you want a building sign, there are several types that may be an option for you. The jackpot is Exclusive Building Signage. This is usually a tenant who occupies a substantial portion of a building. They are the only name on the building. Oftentimes tenants pay a high price for this right, particularly by expressways or roads with high traffic counts.

The second runner up is simply Building Signage. These signs can be on the side of the building, but may not always be at the top. Sometimes you have one tenant name at the top of the building, but another tenant may have it’s name on the building so it’s seen at street-level or perhaps on the parking garage.

When building signage isn’t an option, a tenant can sometimes negotiate a monument sign which is a free-standing sign on the building’s property. There are two types. The best is Exclusive Monument Signage. This gives a tenant a stand alone monument sign just for themselves. No sharing. Another good option is sharing a monument sign with other tenants. The number of tenants vary, so you will want to lock that down in the lease negotiations.

Signage is just another component of my lease negotiations. If you want to see your name up in lights, give me a call so we can discuss a winning strategy for you

Posted in commercial real estate, General Business, Lease Negotiations, Miami Office Space, Tenant Rep broker, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

If You Build It, Will They Come?

construction cranesI have been up to my eyeballs in construction issues lately, so I wanted to share some trends I am seeing:

  1. Construction costs continue to escalate sharply. Workers and materials continue to demand a premium which is driving costs upwards. Traffic, demand and logistics headaches have caused top interior contractors to charge extra for jobs in Brickell or Downtown. This affects not only rental rates, but also lease terms because landlords need more time to recoup those expenses.
  2. Because the construction industry is so busy, everything is taking longer. Architects and engineers are so busy that it takes longer to get plans. The various building departments are busy so processing takes a bit longer. Add in the contractors who are stretched thin, and delays are inevitable. If you are thinking about moving, you need to give yourself plenty of time.
  3. Due to the two factors above, more and more landlords are proactively building “spec” spaces. These are smaller (1,400 to 3,000 SF) offices that incorporate a basic design with neutral finishes. I am a huge fan of spec suites because you can tweak them a little if necessary, but usually they are so well-designed that a tenant can move in immediately. The landlord is able to gain economies of scale by constructing several suites at one time and oftentimes these suites begin to lease up before they are completed.

If you are thinking about moving, contact me so we can plan a timeline and solution for your specific situation.

Posted in Commercial Interior Design, commercial real estate, General Business, Lease Negotiations, Miami Economy, Miami Office Space, Tenant Rep broker, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s Next for Miami Real Estate?

Last week was the CREW Miami’s 19th Economic Forecast by NYU economist Hugh Kelley.Hugh Kelley I have written frequently about Hugh and his predictions. I always find his presentation insightful and this year was right on the mark. This year he spoke about the five basic forms of economic change and how they would impact Miami in 2016. Here are my key takeaways:

• Across the United States, commercial real estate is still in a favorable position of the cycle. Nationally, it is at Position 5 of a 16 position cycle, which means that it is solidly in the Expansion cycle.
• However, Miami has already had two segments boom — hotels and multi-family. Overall he thought Miami was at an 11, so he believes it is time for Miami investors to begin thinking defensively and not looking for future upside.
• Fortunately for Miami, we are now considered a 24-hour city and 24-hour cities outperform 18-hour and 9-5 cities in both office building investment returns and multi-family investment returns. This is important to note as we move to the peak of the cycle.

For more about the event, click here for a great article by Real Deal. This morning I am at the CCIM Real Estate Outlook which is a half day seminar on commercial real estate. It will be interesting to see what they have to say.

Remember, as things begin to shift, you may need expert guidance to determine how your office space will either work for you or against you. Call me so I can help you plan for the future.

Posted in commercial real estate, General Business, Miami Economy, Miami Office Space, Miami Office statistics, Tenant Rep broker, Uncategorized | Leave a comment