Is your commercial property stuck in a different decade? Here on Long Island you will find it increasingly difficult to attract and retain quality tenants if your building is tired and out of date. As designers, the most common issues we find in outdated buildings are worn out carpeting, drab corridors and lackluster lobbies — but will doing these cosmetic renovations be enough to bring your property up to speed? From exterior building upgrades that will get you noticed to interiors that will make your tenants want to stay forever, we’re sharing our advice which upgrades are worth the investment.
You Only Get One Chance to Make a First Impression
Creating a building “identity” is like hanging an “under new management” sign — it promises new and refreshing changes to come. So, what are some simple and effective ways to brand your building?
- Developing a striking logo — Incorporate elements that are unlikely to change, like your street address, for a logo that is simple, effective and memorable.
- Change exterior signage — In addition to providing a fresh look, in most towns, they don’t require you to file for exterior signage permits.
- Architectural callback — Looking to take your building branding to the next level? Incorporate a design element that reinforces the building’s structure, notable feature or recurring shape for a cohesive design approach.
It’s What’s on the Inside That Counts
When it comes to elevating your interior finishes, add dimension and interest with millwork features or specialty lighting. Color-blocking or wall graphics can offer way-finding cues and add visual interest. Eye-catching artwork is a great way to break up long corridors and there are a variety of attractive impactful options that don’t have to break your budget.
Continue incorporating your building’s new brand throughout the various common areas like corridors and lobbies. A compelling color palette and tastefully designed wayfinding and ADA signage can all reinforce your new identity. These types of changes can also make the space more “Instagrammable,” which can make for great marketing when others tag your property in their post. The idea is to build a community within your building. This get tenants and visitors excited.
Re-developing underutilized storage and basement space into smaller suites with shared amenities such as conference rooms, restrooms and break areas, are all great ways to attract smaller tenants. When combined with flexible leases and tiered usage plans these options make for an attractive package. Building a relationship with these types of tenants early on is a great way to develop loyalty. When that same tenant is ready to scale up, you might have the perfect space or property nearby. Help the little guys, they will be the future!
Retaining Top Tenants
Now that you know how to attract desirable tenants, let’s talk about retaining them. The millennial tenant in particular wants to be excited to come to work every day. What are they looking for specifically? More. More amenities, more flexibility, more technology, more centrally located buildings, more on-trend spaces — more!
If you don’t have a fitness room or center onsite, this can be easily incorporated into those repurposed basement storage spaces we were just talking about. Showers are a serious value-add. When done properly, this can even turn into a revenue-producing amenity.
Onsite cafés and other food service options are conveniences that people appreciate, but don’t always take advantage of. Try taking a different approach that engages tenants and makes them feel like their voice is being heard. It could be cool to host a tasting event featuring different vendor options (Food Truck Friday, anyone?) where tenants can vote for their favorites and the winner is awarded a contract. Once you figure out food, don’t forget to offer them a place to sit or just get outside for a bit. Outdoor benches, tables and gardens, designated non-smoking areas and walking paths are all great features.
A New Lease on the Life of Your Building
Take an objective look at your building, listen to feedback from current tenants, and decide what to prioritize so you can devise a plan and start implementing. Any one of the suggestions we’ve mentioned can add to the overall appeal of your building. A beautiful, well-designed space can help tenants achieve a greater sense of work/life balance which, in turn, increases their productivity, lowers their stress levels and enhances their overall happiness. This is the true added value. This is how you attract and retain quality tenants.