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The Unexpected Cost of Constructing Empty Space

July 28, 2017

VERTEX was published in the July 2017 edition of Colorado Real Estate Journal on the topic of office space construction styles.

Authored by Bob Bergeson, EVP of Tenant Improvement and Ashley Combs, Business Development Associate, there were many key highlights. ‘Exposed’ and ‘collaborative’ are terms our Tenant Improvement GC team hears most often. But achieving these design styles are typically more expensive than traditional office design.

The exposed concept, often referred to as ‘industrial’, is still in high demand.

The trend of repurposing old factories began in the 1960s. Apartments and residential lofts were the first but were soon followed by commercial. We have seen it in office space for nearly a decade now. The trend has always focused on the inherent functionality over form, presenting a new aesthetic. This means exposed pipes, exposed concrete flooring, exposed ceilings, and with that comes the need to make these previously hidden spaces clean, safe and visually pleasing. If assuming a $30 to $40 per sf. remodel cost for traditional space, to do a remodel to an exposed concept will increase construction costs anywhere from $10 to $30 per sf.

An environment that is truly collaborative takes some planning.

The exclusion of physical barriers like walls and cubicles plays a big part in collaborative design. Kitchens and break rooms are no longer hidden but instead are open with islands and bars for employees to gather. Game rooms, lounges, and huddle rooms are all deliberatively designed to encourage natural interaction.

The industrial look and collaborative work environment are much more than just empty space. It is deliberatively designed and becoming more desirable for a wider range of tenant types. While the construction itself may cost more than traditional finishes, owners and property managers must ask themselves what the opportunity cost is of ignoring the trend.

To learn more about VERTEX’s Tenant Improvement Contracting services or to speak with a Construction Expert, call 888.298.5162 or submit an inquiry.

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