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3 Exterior Upgrades to Reduce Turnaround Time at Commercial Properties

The contents of this article do not constitute financial or investment advice. To find a solution tailored to your needs, reach out to our team of commercial real estate professionals.  

For CRE owners and investors, nothing is more important than a fast turnaround time between tenants. Let’s take a look at how exterior upgrades can help you achieve that.

Here at Speed Commercial Real Estate in Jackson, we work with commercial property builders, investors, and owners. We know vacant spaces burn resources. Today, we’ll take a closer look at those losses.

Then, we’ll show you the benefits of some finished exterior upgrades. Because an updated look (and an outdoor workspace) can help you keep CRE leased all the time, to the right sort of tenants, with only the shortest of turnaround times.

We’ll cover aluminum railings, wood-alternative columns, and outdoor pergolas (to bring the office outside.) But before we get into any of that, let’s get a clear understanding of the actual costs associated with vacancy.

How Much Does it Cost to Maintain Vacant Commercial Space?

CRE costs vary state to state, city to city, and even within a neighborhood. A vacant high-rise in Los Angeles is undoubtedly going to cost more to maintain than an empty space in Nebraska. Here in Jackson, we’re lucky to have some of the most reasonable CRE in the nation. 

Regardless of location, CRE investors are all going to face the same types of overhead costs associated with vacant units:

  • Property Insurance & Liability — Whether currently leased or not, you’ll need adequate insurance coverage in case of fire or other perils. From your insurer’s perspective, vacant properties bring added risks (like squatters), which in turn, bring an increased risk of fire, vandalism, malicious mischief, and injury. If a commercial space is vacant for more than a few months, your commercial property and liability insurance rates are likely to increase substantially!
  • Property taxes — Whether it’s leased or not, your state will still be looking for property taxes. 
  • Utilities — Vacant CRE still requires minimum utility costs. Water, electricity, gas… utilities add up! Most landlords can’t turn off utilities at a commercial unit, because this brings a risk of other maintenance issues like frozen pipes or vandalism in an unlit space.
  • Security — Depending on your location, security services at CRE locations can cost well over $1 per square foot every month.
  • Vacancy fees to property management  Not all property management companies charge a vacancy fee, but according to Upkeep Media, those that do usually charge an average of $50 per month, per unit. These add up quickly. Five vacant spaces would cost you $250 a month. 

As you see, vacant CRE costs landlords more than just the loss of rent.

Now, let’s switch gears and talk about updating your exteriors. 

How Quality Exterior Upgrades Reduce Turnaround Time at Commercial Properties

In the US, the commercial real estate industry is worth about $1 trillion. It was a hot market before COVID-19, and this time last year we expected the CRE market to grow about 4% annually for the next few years.

Obviously, things have changed. COVID has struck down many small businesses and forced them to shutter their doors. But remember, there is always a Renaissance after a pandemic. Rather than spending time chasing the almighty dollar running loops in the rat race, future entrepreneurs are sitting at home, honing their skills, imagining new concepts, products, and services to bring to the world.

When this pandemic situation is finally over, you can expect a surge in artisan works and entrepreneurship. These folks will be a whole new generation of entrepreneurs. They’ll need CRE.

And these young businesses will be choosy about their space! American consumers are better educated than ever before. We have technology at our fingertips 24/7, and can do the initial research for office space or warehouse space from our living rooms.

In such a “techy” and artistic climate, young business will make significant investments in their company image. And both the neighborhood they choose and the commercial buildings they ultimately select will speak to their uplifted ideas.

What Will Commercial Tenants Look For After COVID-19?

When shopping for a new location to lease, most business owners consider details like:

  • Location & accessibility to infrastructure 
  • Operational costs and utilities
  • Usable square footage and a pleasing layout (both inside and out, more on that in a moment)
  • Affordability and fair rental value 

Furthermore, tenants are more concerned with the environmental aspects of their location than ever. They’re likely to ask questions about water usage, energy efficiency, recycled building materials, and anything else that reduces their organization’s carbon footprint

Ultimately, prospective tenants are looking for commercial real estate that will uplift their image, for the sake of both employees and customers.

For all these reasons, it’s time to give your CRE some exterior upgrades. Even if you just renewed the five-year-lease for a quality tenant, exterior upgrades are sure to help keep them around.

After all, the best tenant turnaround time is none at all!

The Best Exterior Upgrades For Commercial Real Estate

We’ve put together a list ranging from basic exterior upgrades to the more luxurious architectural finishes. 

1. Updated Aluminum Railings: Affordable Exterior Upgrades For Beauty, Safety & Code Compliance

New aluminum railings should feature clean and classic lines that enhance any CRE. We suggest you select an American-made aluminum railing extruded from 6063 aluminum alloy, as they never rust. 

  • Black aluminum railings will provide a subdued, professional appeal in any commercial setting.
  • Or, choose lighter neutral tones for an uplifting, outdoorsy appeal.

2. Non-Wood Columns: Stately Style With a Limited Carbon Footprint That Appeals to Tenants, Their Employees & Customers

Solid wood columns are a beautiful way to uplift your building’s appearance instantly. Your tenant and their customers will appreciate the notion of luxury and quality. This translates to improved branding and enjoyable customer experience. (The things that matter to your tenant.)

But green-minded organizations might be concerned that wood columns increase your property’s carbon footprint. After all, it isn’t just the use of wood to create the columns, it’s the ongoing treatments and paint that could potentially affect a consumer’s opinion.

From a landlord’s perspective, the continual investment — both funds and maintenance man-hours — to keep wood columns looking their best isn’t appealing either. That’s why the staff at Speed would suggest you look into wood alternatives. 

Wood and Stone Alternatives — Columns for Commercial Property

Columns are a gorgeous way to instantly uplift your CRE’s curb appeal. You already know that better curb appeal equals a better class of tenant and higher rents.

The Benefits of Architectural Fiberglass Columns 

Fiberglass columns are an outstanding one-time investment for Jackson-area commercial property owners because they are:

  • Lightweight
  • Water resistant
  • Rot resistant
  • And they require no special maintenance

Architectural FRP Fiberglass Columns

For larger commercial applications, FRP fiberglass is used for load-bearing exterior columns that are 16″ or greater in diameter. They are also rot and water-resistant, and require no extra investment in maintenance. They might seem expensive now, but FRP fiberglass columns will last a lifetime.

Polymer Stone Columns

Polymer stone columns have the look and feel of real cast stone, but they weigh about 50% less than standard stone columns. 

We know the choices in architectural columns can be overwhelming. Check out this column builder tool to explore your design ideas. 

3. Pergolas Create Usable Outdoor Space for Offices, Restaurants, and Retail Settings 

We’ve already touched on the importance of a quality work environment within your CRE. Your tenant needs to hire and retain employees. Know that your best prospective tenants take work environments very seriously. In the wake of COVID-19, more people will be attracted to outdoor workspaces.

  • The CDC says Coronavirus spreads much more slowly outdoors
  • Employers will be eager to use outdoor workspaces as a perk to poach top talent

So, the next hot trend in CRE design is workable outdoor office space. Across the nation, architects and organizations are already seeking ways to encourage employees to work productively outdoors. Exterior upgrades in the form of open-air spaces at your CRE are the next evolution your commercial real estate should undergo!

We think Amanda Bahn and Dawn Reinard of Workspace Interiors / Office Depot say it best: “Aside from providing a breath of fresh air to traditional corporate settings, the concept of working outside also ‘works’ from a wellness perspective… outdoor workspaces literally bring the office outside.”

So bring the office outdoors to attract quality tenants next year.

In closing, the CRE market in Jackson, MS is experiencing the calm before the storm. When it comes to COVID-19, know that this, too, shall pass. And once we’re on the other side of this experience, the market will be bursting with fresh new entrepreneurs who need top-notch CRE. 

Let’s talk about your perfect location.

805 South Wheatley,
Suite 190
Ridgeland, MS 39157