Better than New
Every city tells a story through its urban landscape: its street life, retail, transit offerings, art and architecture. In cities across the world, enduring, historic and iconic buildings intersperse metropolitan streetscapes and skylines. While we all have favorites, some older facilities are begging for a transformation (or, in some cases, perhaps a bulldozer).
Taking a fresh look at less-than-ideal-assets from a variety of perspectives can uncover unrealized potential and missed opportunities. By approaching building repositioning with a positive-and sustainable-point of view, SmithGroup has revived properties through substantial and constructive modifications, transforming undesirable properties into highly marketable, in-demand real estate assets. A building with good bones in a premier location often evolves at lower cost and less turmoil through renovation versus demolition and rebuilding.
Not all repositioning projects warrant conversions of a building's external appearance, however. Though major renovations often necessitate the desire for contemporary design in many regions/markets, less extensive solutions-those that update finishes, add tangible amenities (such as better fitness facilities, or shared high-tech conferencing rooms), and create inspiring first impressions-can be an appropriate strategy.
Repositioning requires unconventional thinking about how infrastructure systems support tenants. For example, a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) might not be a market standard in your location; however, the investment can increase floor-to-floor ceiling heights, resulting in spaces more attractive and functional for the end-user. The return on investment can be balanced against speed to market, lease-up duration, lease rates, energy costs, and attraction to sustainable design. And it might, in the long run, be the best value.
In a similar vein, adding density to an existing building can create the challenge of examining gravity and lateral loads for the original structure all the way down through the footings. The prospect of adding 30% more rentable area to the asset; however, has quickly offset that discussion in our experience.
The flight of key tenants to new space in many major metropolitan areas has developers and building owners focusing on their existing building portfolio. A new perspective and insight into repositioning strategies can be key to reclaiming a property's value, and its place in the community.