Repurposing with Purpose: Advantages in the Redevelopment of Older Buildings for New Uses

Advantages in the Redevelopment of Older Buildings for New Uses

By James A. Schnur, CCIM
President and Designated Managing Broker
Integrated Real Estate Solutions

Driven by a shift in the demographics dominating today’s workforce — from older generations looking to capitalize on their disposable income as they transition into retirement to millennials continuing to occupy greater space within the working world — businesses have adapted by relocating into urban areas to better target the rising population of workers and consumers shunning suburban lifestyles for city-living. With the increased interest in urban land and business space comes a spike in prices for newer, modern real-estate developments, which in turn can be cost-prohibitive for some business owners looking to capitalize by making the move into a city. Fortunately, alternatives exist to counter-balance these obstacles, in the form of “adaptive reuse” properties — i.e. the redevelopment of existing, older commercial properties within the city for modern business uses, drawing from the established architectural foundation of the urban centers.

Choosing to look at an older, existing property for relocation means looking at a lower cost when moving in, namely when compared to the increasing price of renting space within newer buildings, as well as a reduction in building materials necessary to use an already constructed space. That said, not every property has been built or maintained the same way, and there are certain environmental considerations that will need to be taken into consideration when exploring properties, particularly in former manufacturing spaces, but many of these same properties are well-constructed and built to last. Additionally, choosing an established property for relocation is an investment. After applying more modern touches to an interior, and choosing the right location relative to business needs and adjoining neighborhood businesses, older buildings, with their unique character and history, can easily command premium prices for resale.

Expanding a property search to include older properties also opens up the opportunity to move into a space that exists as part of an established community. Bringing a business into these spaces, and as an extension of this, preserving the building and its history within the neighborhood, creates a positive footprint in the community as a whole, building interest and incentive for the community to support the efforts of the business in turn. This also becomes attractive to potential talent, as the younger generation seeks to “…engage in meaningful work, in meaningful environments, where they can engage with a community and have food and shopping options nearby.“ Thus, choosing to relocate within an established property in a community helps build a sense of authenticity that future talent is seeking from their employers, helping a business continue to grow to meet their goals while drawing renewed interest toward the communities they have chosen to relocate within.

Cost-savings during relocation and increased interest in both traffic and recruiting are all major boons for any business owner, determining if an older, existing building is the right choice comes down to individual business needs. For some, it will be easier to adapt an existing commercial space into an office space with slight cosmetic upgrades or adapt an existing warehouse space by bringing in updated equipment, but for others, the zoning considerations or environmental waste removal costs may be too prohibitive for this option to be viable. For a true understanding of whether it would be advantageous to undertake a relocation in an existing space, it is paramount to consult with a commercial real estate professional. To get a full perspective on the pros and cons, and to better explore all relocation opportunities available, consider consulting with the professionals at Integrated Real Estate Solutions. With extensive experience in corporate relocations, the professionals at IRES are fully dedicating to working with businesses to determine the best options to suit both their immediate needs and to ensure future success.

Integrated Real Estate Solutions, Inc. provides clients with the in-depth knowledge and experience that is critical to determine the right path to your next move, lease renewal, or strategic repositioning of your real estate portfolio. Contact us or call 847.550.0160 today about your needs, and put our success to work for you.

Author: Jim Schnur

Jim Schnur is the President and Designated Managing Broker of Integrated Real Estate Solutions, Inc. Jim started the firm in 2003 after almost 20 years negotiating and overseeing real estate transactions at Hewlett Packard Co. and Agilent Technologies, Inc.