Top 6 Tips For a Tenant Improvement Project

Tenant Improvement Projects

Is your business growing? Are you starting a new company and looking for the perfect space? With Portland’s red hot commercial real estate market, competition is fierce. Your new property might need a little TLC in the form of a tenant improvement project.

At BnK Construction we work with business owners to help them design and build out leased office space and other commercial properties. In today’s post, we’ll review a few of the best ways to make sure your tenant improvement project is a success.

If you’re planning a new project, call us today at  (503) 557-0866 to learn more about how we might be able to help!

1. Start planning before you sign a lease

The planning for your tenant improvement project should begin before you even think about signing your lease. During your search for the perfect space (whether it’s a Class A office, a new dental office, restaurant, or retail location) be thinking about:

  • Budget – Don’t invest in a space that needs more work than you can afford
  • Potential Lease Terms and Restrictions – Don’t make the mistake of falling in love with a property where you’ll be handcuffed by a short lease or restrictions on improvements you can make to the space
  • Timeline – Even if you can afford the renovations and buildout, will the space be ready on your timeline?

When you work with an experienced tenant improvement contractor, like the team at BnK Construction, we are always willing to help when you’re looking at real estate prior to making a commitment.

This is actually the best time to call us!

We can help you see pitfalls in a property that you may not. For example, if a space has an inadequately sized A/C unit or needs more electrical wiring, we’ll let you know. Then when leasing a space, we can help negotiate with your building’s owner using our experience and knowledge. Depending on the amount of work that will need to be done to reach your goals, you may be able to negotiate a lower rent or other clauses in your contract.

2. Work with your space not against it

A Portland Office Tenant Improvement Project

Look at the incredible natural light in this Class A office space in Portland’s Pearl District.

The key to a great tenant improvement project is flexibility and the ability to work with the features your new space offers. For example, if your new dentist office has great natural light, don’t hide it! Think of creative ways to use the unique features of your new space (think exposed beams and woodwork) instead of hiding them.

A great tenant improvement contractor will help you by anticipating cost overruns and having flexible options in mind to keep your project under budget. Conversely, a really great tenant improvement contractor will have potential upgrade options available to improve your space when they find ways to keep costs under budget.

3. Balance wants and needs

When it comes to keeping your project on-schedule and on-budget, you might not be able to have every item on your wish list. When planning your tenant improvement project, separate the features you want from those you absolutely need. Don’t become too attached to something on your “want” list. One of the biggest mistakes new tenants make is thinking too narrowly and considering everything a “need”.

Read more construction and remodeling tips on the BnK blog

Pets & Offices

What do pets and their human friends look for in a veterinary clinic? Here’s what we’ve learned working with vets throughout Portland, Keep reading

Preparing for a Remodel

Getting ready to remodel or build out new Class A office space. The devil is in the details. Make your project a success by planning right. Keep reading

4. Don’t emphasize form over function

Veterinary Tenant Improvement

Happy Valley Veterinary’s new space looks great and meets the needs of their patients and staff!

Remember that your tenant improvement project should have one goal: to create a space that meets the needs of your patients, clients, and customers. A big mistake in many tenant improvement projects is spending the entire budget on making the space look nice while overlooking the needs of your business.

Don’t ignore:

  • ADA Compliance – Will your space be accessible and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act?
  • HVAC – Will your space be prohibitively expensive to heat and cool efficiently? Or worse will your space suffer from poor heating and cooling?
  • Fire Alarms & Sprinkler Systems – Is your space up to local code when it comes to fire alarms and suppression systems?

5. Think like your customer/client/patient/employee

Dental Tenant Improvement

2nd & Madison Dental’s downtown Portland clinic makes great use of their city views to create a relaxing environment for their patients.

Remember: While you might be the business owner, you will not be the only one using your new space. When planning your tenant improvement project, make sure to consider the other people who will be in your space:

  • Customers, clients, or patients
  • Employees

Do your research and ask your team what they’d like to see in your space. Check out other local businesses and see how they’ve built out their spaces. Survey customers and clients to see how your new space can best meet their needs.

6. Hire a great local design & construction firm you trust

Above all else, the key to a successful tenant improvement project is working with a construction firm you trust. At BnK Construction our team has more than 75 years combined experience working with a variety of businesses in the Portland metro area. We specialize in planning and executing world-class tenant improvement projects.

If you can dream it, we can build it!

Contact us today to learn more. Let’s talk about your next tenant improvement project!


Leave a Reply