By Bill Gunn
While the Millennial generation is making its impact on commercial real estate, a new wave of technology companies also brings about new demands and expectations for buying and leasing commercial space.
Many of these tech companies start small but can grow incredibly fast, which creates a problem when it comes to forming a contract for leasing or buying their future headquarters.
For many of these companies, industrial-office flex spaces are the perfect fit.
What exactly is an industrial-office flex space?
The truth is there’s no one-size-fits-all definition, and how they are utilized is largely dependent on the tenant.
Flex spaces are typically found in industrial and commercial parks, but can also be located within more traditional business structures. Industrial-office flex space can be a warehouse, a light industrial building, an office building or all three.
Traditionally, industrial-office flex space is a single-story, industrial type building that is at least 25 percent office space with a parking space ratio of four-to-one, in case the property becomes 100 percent office space.
The buildings themselves can have different layouts of varying square feet, but they are usually designed to handle power demands greater than that of a warehouse building, and have roofs that can support the weight of extra air-conditioning units. The façade is generally street style landscaping, and the rear of the building can include loading docks, additional entrances or windows facing more office space.
Flexibility and Customization
It’s all about flexibility and customization, which is exactly what drew one of our clients to this property located in downtown Birmingham. Fetch, a talent-driven hiring platform that matches companies with job seekers, purchased this 5,000-square-foot flex space in 2016.
Although the building was originally designed as an industrial-use fabricating shop, Fetch made some interior and exterior renovations, turning it into their high-tech headquarters with plenty of room for additional growth. Take a look at their approach in these photos:
Flex space also creates a unique work environment that offers a different look and feel from the layout of a traditional office space. This lends many high-tech companies an upper hand when it comes to recruiting the younger talent typically suited for roles within these companies.
The Future of Industrial-Office Flex Space
Technology companies aren’t the only ones that can benefit from industrial-office flex space. Companies that sell products online also have a lot to gain. According to the National Retail Federation, consumer sales through e-commerce are expected to rise by up to 12 percent in 2017. Industrial-office flex space is already set up to segment the property into a warehouse and office space, allowing companies to save money and store goods on-site rather than spend additional money leasing a separate warehouse space.
The increased flexibility and freedom to modify and customize office layouts, additional room for expansion, and the capability for on-site storage all make industrial-office flex spaces useful and valuable assets in modern day real estate markets.