What’s your building all about?
Start with a building concept. "What would it say to its occupants?" Does the building have unique personality, brand or character? Or, is it just like the building next door?
What’s the highest and best use for the building?
Sounds straightforward if there’s only one use, i.e., office, multifamily or retail. Mixed-use buildings sometimes cater to the wrong use. Is retail better suited than office on the street level? Does it make sense to convert upper-level offices to apartments? Is the original special purpose restaurant, better suited to subdivide into flex space? Understanding your local market needs will help you to make better business decisions filling the demand gap for what’s needed in the area.
How is the building marketed?
Regardless, if a broker is assigned to leasing space in the building, ownership should still manage their own dedicated website and social media marketing for communicating to the outside world. The building should create a buzz in the market! Are people talking about the building? Does it stand out because it has a great vibe, exceeds tenant expectations, creates extraordinary experiences, has awesome amenities or develops a close community around its tenants?
Does ownership understand who the existing and future tenants are?
Different tenants have different needs to attract and retain. Know the makeup of your existing tenants. Who are the future tenants and types of businesses you're trying to attract? Building owners should have target tenant uses in mind. Focus your marketing and better align it to the target tenant. Amenities, space planning layouts, décor and ambiance should fit in with existing tenant use and future target tenants.
What are the building's hidden gems?
Many buildings have “hidden gems” or underutilized unique facilities, products or services that are not in the spotlight. For example, spectacular views or underutilized basement space that could be used for bike storage, shower stalls or tenant storage. Are vacant spaces utilized to benefit existing tenants? For example, create a common use chill-out space or meeting rooms. What about opening unused space for hot desk or short-term office hoteling?
What’s the building vibe like?
Make every inch of the building count and pay attention to the details. Stream music to compliment the vibe, add video for tenant directory, communicating to guest or building events. Comfort is very important; temperature, smell, sound, lighting, color, textures – all things that play into the senses. Use ideas from your favorite hotel and bring the same level of comfort into your building. Are the lobby and common areas inviting and memorable?
Are the lobby and common areas inviting and memorable? Your lobby is an advertising tool. A lobby can be a make-or-break deal for prospective tenants. The lobby is a highly specialized space. It needs to have its own personality. A charismatic and attractive lobby isn't just about aesthetics. If occupants are distracted by a poorly maintained space, they may not take your business seriously. Your lobby is your front door. It's the first and last impression for tenants and visitors. Lobbies are an area to develop an edge over similar buildings in your location or within your industry.
Does building management engage the tenants?
Plan monthly tenant events. Build a community around the building. Tenant’s should know and look out for each other. Maintenance request, places for tenant suggestions and feedback are very important to build good will and tenant retention.
Source: Tony Casalena, CCIM