Designing the Inner Space: Tenant Finish-Out

There are a couple scenarios people face when selecting a space for their company to call home.

A blank slate, also referred to as “shell space,” has its obvious advantages. There is little-to-no demo, helping to expedite schedules and savings to your construction budget. You have the freedom to create a tailored space plan to fit your company’s needs in lieu of retrofitting into an existing floor plan. The existing conditions are easier to verify. Ceilings and mechanical systems are exposed, and the floor substrate (often concrete) is visible without residual adhesives from previous materials, making it much easier to choose preferred finishes without surprises of what lies beneath. While there is much freedom of choice in this scenario, it is important to understand building standards as soon as possible to establish reasonable expectations.

MercantileCenter_BeforeAfter_final.jpg#asset:6122Mercantile Center, Before and After

Interior Renovation of an existing tenant space is another option to consider. Renovation is not always as scary as it seems. This is especially true when you have an experienced professional to help you visualize realistic modifications, or understand existing conditions you will need to embrace.  Often there is a Tenant Improvement budget (TI) from the landlord to improve your space. You can use this allowance to modify existing components within your suite. This can include modest improvements such as fresh paint or new carpet. Replacing existing lay-in ceiling tile, light fixtures, and millwork cabinets requires a little more investment, but adds a big impact. Some tenants choose complete demo (gut) by removing all walls, finishes, ceiling, and millwork. Others utilize what they can, limiting improvement to key areas to fit their needs. It is important to keep in mind your TI budget, and understand what design improvements will go above this allowance resulting in the tenants own cost.

Tenant finish-out is a big investment for any organization. With the many options out there, it is crucial that the space is made to fit your needs from day one until the end of your lease date, or time of renewal. Start with defining your company’s goals and vision of the space, and keep in mind your priorities so that you do not compromise too much on what is most valued.