Oct 22, 2014

Site Selection is the Key

By Don Catalano



While retail companies are experts on site selection, the process is different when leasing office space. After all, the location of a building's driveway probably won't make the difference between a successful office and a failed one like it can in the retail world. Even so, choosing the right site can help to make your offices work more smoothly and productively.

Area Tenant Mix

Part of choosing a site is to look at the tenants that are in the surrounding area. While the nature of the financial services industry in New York City has changed over the years and its geographical spread has increased, a Wall Street address still sends a different message than one on Madison Avenue. Many communities have areas in which certain industries cluster and focusing your site selection campaign on the the right parts of town can help you to find synergistic relationships with other nearby companies and vendors.

Workforce... Today and Tomorrow

For inward-facing offices, the key factor isn't the ability to draw in customers. Instead, it's how to draw in current and potential workers. This requires locating in an employee-friendly location. Decades ago, the rule was to locate downtown and expect that workers would come to you. Then, as the population spread into the suburbs, offices moved along with them. Now, site selection is getting more complex. While Generation X and younger Baby Boomers are likely to be based in the suburbs where they can have room for two SUVs, a dog and a family, older Baby Boomers and Generation Y tend to be based in cities where they have more amenities and easier commutes.

Along with this trend, given the lower rate of car ownership among Generation Y, access to public transit becomes important. With this in mind, choosing a location that is either urban and easy to get to or close-in suburban with good public transit can help your company to appeal to the general workforce. Of course, if your office has special needs or is drawing from a smaller subset of the population, consider having your site selection team look at their specific needs and find the right space for them.

Access to Amenities

Given the length of the American workday, your workers tend to mix business, pleasure and the necessities of life. As such, choosing an office that is conducive to that lifestyle is key. Having your site selection team focus on locations that have a high amenity load brings multiple benefits:

  1. Your workers are more productive since they know that they can run errands and take care of personal business before or after work or on lunch breaks.

  2. Teams are more likely to be cohesive if they are able to socialize outside of the workplace, especially at local watering holes or restaurants.

  3. The more amenities in the immediate area, the fewer you will need to offer (and pay rent on) in your office space. For instance, a Starbucks or Caribou on the ground floor of your building can serve as an informal employee meeting space, letting you potentially get away with one fewer conference room. Eliminating a 300 square foot conference room can save you $9,000 per year at $30 rent.

Other great Commercial Site Selection articles:

Simplifying Site Selection with Technology

The Newest CFO Prerogative: Site Selection

Site Selection: What Class of Building Should I Lease?


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Don Catalano

Don Catalano