The Art of the Floor Plan

Office leasing requires a very specific skill set. There are thousands of office buildings, in the Birmingham market alone that brokers scour everyday to find the perfect fit.  Some buildings stay on the market for years due to numerous reasons- mainly because landlords are not willing to make a certain amount of capital available for Tenant Improvements to attract prospective Tenants.

Tenant reps must to be able to manipulate existing floor plans for clients, and make changes for their benefit. Often, potential changes come together during building tours. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could add a filing room here? We could use a second entrance here.” Clients should have an idea of the total cost involved to make the space suit their needs. The total cost of Tenant Improvements including design fees has a direct impact on the economics of a lease transaction.

At Shannon Waltchack, we look at a building and its infrastructure from an architects’ perspective. Knocking down or adding walls, taking consideration of existing plumbing, and the estimated costs of construction are crucial components in choosing the right space for your client. Space planning can create value for clients as well as property owners by saving everyone the time involved on whether or not a deal can be achieved based upon the total budget.

David Spencer, SW’s Tenant Rep expert, firmly believes in the power of a floor plan, giving his clients a clear picture of what their experience would be like in each space option from start to finish. “A good Office Landlord Representative should always have a dimensioned floor plan readily available whether professionally generated or simply hand drawn,” Spencer said.

Landlord reps can improve existing building floor plans to create opportunities for future tenants. Principal Tim Blair has decades of experience leasing and managing office buildings, and has seen many changes in recent years in what tenants have on their wish lists. “There clearly has been a move to more open office spaces with few offices around the perimeter. This type of environment fosters a more collaborative culture and consciously works to break down the more traditional, ‘corporate’ feel,” Blair said.

These trends in open workspaces, have landlords exploring new options for their layouts to attract potential tenants. As landlords, we try to get ahead of the changes, and offer fresh options to our potential tenants as turnaround occurs. In a best-case scenario, we will make the improvements that will meet the market’s needs ahead of putting the space back on the market.

The most important step in tenant representation is to fully understand your clients’ needs. Knowing their space requirement and budget is not good enough. It is vital to understand how many employees they have and how they work together. What is their company culture? How do they succeed? This information will help you select properties that will move their business forward, enhancing their productivity and providing superior service.

Floor plans are complex and can take you down a rabbit hole. They can look like the inside of John Malkovich’s head. Shannon Waltchack brokers take the time to thoughtfully analyze the space plans on both tenant and landlord sides in order to add meaningful value for our clients, maximizing their space and budget.


Photo: George Elliott reviews floor plans in his office; Actual Shannon Waltchack listing at Independence Plaza in Homewood.

At Shannon Waltchack, we look at a building and its infrastructure from an architects’ perspective.

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by Suzanne Echols