One of the goals I consistently try to tackle with clients when their lease is set to expire is uncovering ways to help them reduce real estate spend versus their last lease. While getting a more aggressive deal than their previous lease is an obvious way to reduce costs, the other way to reduce spend is to reduce the amount of space being used.
When it comes to space planning, most brokers take the same approach that landlords take. “Well the average metric is 250 square feet per person, and you have X number of people, so you need Y sized space.” Then they’ll have an architect go through the exercise and show how the operation can fit into the space that’s available.
I recently worked on a project where the client really needed about 11,000 square feet. One building under consideration had two spaces available, a 14,500 square foot unit and separate 10,500 square foot unit. The landlord’s architect first laid out a plan to fit us in the larger space (obviously, since they work for the landlord) and then when we balked, showed us how we could very comfortably fit in the smaller unit.
I work through a basic space planning exercise with my clients at the start of every project to define how much space is needed. That way, we can not only focus on properties that are appropriate, but also narrow down the search to buildings that can accommodate our size needs. We want to create leverage based on total cost of occupancy, not just dollars per square foot.