Constructing spec suites as ready-to-occupy office space can be a highly effective way to attract tenants. The need for modern, hip looking space to attract and retain talent makes spec suites an excellent option for many tenants. While each sub market is slightly different, it is likely that tenant trends will continue and if landlords want to stay competitive in the market, they will need to find take advantage of this growing trend.
Making spec suites successful, however, requires market savvy, cutting-edge design, and expert knowledge on building codes with the primary goal being:
Easy, cost-conscious efficiencies which lead to a trendy space that tenants find attractive
Among the most important rules to follow when designing spec suites in your building?
Create a memorable image. Some spec suites use high-impact wall graphics and displays to tell a story about their building or neighborhood. Hospitality inspired designs with warmer colors, wood finishes, and dimmable lights can attract many companies looking for a workplace that fits a more casual lifestyle or company culture.
Accentuate the positives. Many spec suites are built in slow-to-lease floors, remnant spaces, or odd-shaped corners of the office building, so they may be inherently less attractive to renters. It’s critical to emphasize the positives for these spaces and add better finishes and lighting to make less appealing spaces more marketable.
Achieve a balanced look. While it has been trendy, not every company wants a colorful, bold “Google” type of space. The best spec suites find a careful balance between the building owner’s own identity and the likely profile of incoming tenants.
Run the numbers. The spec suite approach does not always work in every building. In a very popular building or location where the spaces are likely to rent quickly, the cost and time of building a spec suite can be avoided. In some cases, it might be better to take the raw space to market instead.
Know the codes. If you want to divide a 20,000-square-foot floor into four spec suites make sure those spaces are code-compliant for egress, life safety, and other rules, whether they are leased to one, two, or four tenants.
By preparing the space as ready-to-go, you instantly go to the top of the list for prospective tenants who’ve fallen behind in their planning. Showing a spec suite versus a second or third generation, tired office helps streamline the leasing process and improve the chances a tenant will take the next step on a particular space or building.
Partnering with design firms and furniture companies to negotiate competitive pricing because of the amount of product purchased, will lower the cost per unit. They are often willing to negotiate because of a desire to showcase their product to potential clients as well. This strategy allows for these spaces to have the look and feel of a high-end, modern office without tenants and landlords having to tackle a potential year-long, design-build process.
The sweet spot for spec suites is between 1,000-5,000 square feet. Tenants larger than 5,000 sq. ft. start to have noticeably different build-out requirements or needs. A smaller footprint lends itself to more general layout requirements, which are easier to create as a one-size-fits-most office space for smaller tenants. Sometimes the best options are for buildings that have multiple spec suites of several different sizes which offer the most possible options for fluid and immediate demand.
Thinking about furnishing a spec suite? Rightsize can help. Feel free to contact us for additional information.