The flex space is nothing new in commercial real estate, but in today’s world of co-working concepts and flexible workdays, it’s gained in popularity. But what exactly is a flex space — and what are your options if you plan to work out of (or purchase) one? We’re glad you asked. Read on for an overview from Belvoir’s real estate pros.
First and Foremost: What is a Flex Space?
The term “flex space” traditionally refers to a large, warehouse-style structure that can be customized to suit retail, office and warehouse needs. (Often all at once!) The building’s flexible nature and open floorplan make it easy to build out leased space to meet a tenant’s unique needs and aesthetic — and to easily update, should the tenant move out or see the need to expand. Although there’s no rule against a single lessee occupying the full flex space, such buildings generally house multiple businesses at any given time.
What Should I Consider When Selecting a Flex Space?
The very nature of a flex space means your opportunities are virtually endless. The key is to find the space (and rental agreement) that makes the most sense for your business. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Location: As with any space you rent or purchase, you’ll want to make sure it sits in a spot you can work with. Are team members and (if applicable) customers able to reach it easily? Does it sit along well-traveled routes to ensure easier deliveries? Does it already house businesses you work with on the regular? (Talk about convenience!) There are few things as frustrating and costly as opening your doors in a location that simply doesn’t serve your situation well.
- End Use: Flex spaces are incredibly versatile, but there are limitations with any property. In addition to working with your aesthetic and budgetary restrictions, your space should offer the features you need to operate successfully. Are big shipments a regular part of your day-to-day business? You might want to look into a space that offers dock high loading. Will you meet regularly with clients on-site? A comfortable conference room might be necessary. Do you plan to host functions often? Be sure to make sure you have an adequate parking situation.
- Future Growth: One of the things that makes a flex space great is its ability to change in shape and size to suit one’s needs. Those growth opportunities can go straight out the window, however, if your building is fully leased — or if you’re in an area boxed in by other tenants and the like. If you anticipate needing additional space within the next two years or so, you’ll want to make that known to your real estate agent. They can help you find a location that can serve you well for years to come.
- Lease Terms: If you’re planning to rent out your flex space, rather than purchase the building outright, you’ll want to make sure the terms fit with both your business plans and budget. Consider how long you plan to be in the space, since longer-term leases can result in cost savings, but can leave you strapped into a contract if you make an early exit. Likewise, square footage needs come into play. A smaller space might make sense at the start, but what if you find yourself needing more elbow room before the lease is up? Some rental agreements allow for wiggle room in the event that an expansion is needed. Your commercial real estate broker will be able to guide you through the process and help you settle on terms that make sense.
Is a Flex Space Right for Me?
Flex spaces provide countless benefits, from their ability to foster employee interaction and shared resources, to the ease at which they can be customized. Still, they aren’t for everybody. The best way to determine whether a flex space is the right option for your business is to talk with a trusted real estate professional who can help you gauge your needs, wants and budget — and get you headed in the right direction.
If you have questions on any of the above — or about any other aspect of commercial real estate — feel free to contact Belvoir. Our team understands the ins and outs of finding that just-right property, and we’re glad to help.