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Flex space is short for flexible space. Flexibility in this case refers to a range of ability to build out the space with varying degrees of office space vs warehouse space.
Flex buildings are single storey properties and normally have multiple units.
The parking ratio is high enough to support the units being built to be 100% office space.
Flex space started to become very popular in the late 1990's when office tenants started to realize that they offer some great benefits over conventional office buildings.
When you approach a flex building, you open a door to a unit and you are in the space - there is no shared building lobby area, and no common area hallways.
Therefore, your usable square footage is also essentially your rentable square footage (except for some small landlord mechanical rooms).
While a normal building square footage mark up factor is 15%, flex buildings are more like 1%.
So if you have a 5,000 square foot unit in a traditional building, it will be grossed up to be 5,750 square feet that you pay rent on. A unit of the exact same size in a flex space would only be grossed up to be 5,050 square feet.
For a more detailed look at building gross up factors, feel free to read this post:
Real estate taxes are calculated based on a percentage of the value of a property and flex space buildings are typically valued at lower numbers than conventional office buildings.
Since the buildings are single storey, there is no more waiting for the elevator, but the added bonus is that elevators are expensive to install and maintain. Those are costs that tenants pay for through their additional rent.
Flex buildings can offer building signage for every tenant, compared to conventional office towers, which reserve tenant signage rights for only very large tenancies. The ability to have top of building signage is also greater, compared to a low-rise suburban office building alternative, which typically reserves the top of building signage just for the anchor tenant of the building.
As flex buildings typically are suburban buildings and are a modern development, they are designed with modern parking ratios in mind. In the 70's, 3 spots per 1,000 square feet of rentable area was the standard. In the 80's and 90's that compressed to 4 spots per 1,000 square feet as office space per employee was reduced. Now we are seeing up to 6 spots per 1,000 square feet and new flex buildings are typically constructed with those ratios in mind.
Conventional office buildings have 8 to 9 foot high ceilings, with dropped, T-bar ceiling tiles.
Flex buildings offer the ability for tenants to have excessively high ceiling heights (in some cases up to 24 feet high).
This allows for a really spacious feel and also allows for sound baffling in the form of voices and noises having to travel too far to reach the ceiling and echo back in a meaningful way.
Since flex buildings are ground floor spaces, they can be more vulnerable to "smash and grab" burglars that see laptops they want to steal.
Many conventional office buildings offer a 24 hour security guard and flex buildings do not.
Sorry folks. These buildings just typically are not built with conservation of space in mind and it is extremely rare for them to offer underground parking - particularly since they offer less expensive rental rates and underground parking is expensive to build.
Every flex property comes standard with a great view to your parking lot.
While nobody is going to fall in love with that kind of view, maybe it will keep the employees focused on working!
They also come with surface parking and typically do not offer any underground parking stalls.
Unfortunately there are no amenities that come with flex spaces.
For example, a 60,000 square foot flex facility will typically be broken down into two 30,000 square foot units, three 20,000 square foot units, or six 10,000 square foot spaces.
In any of those cases, there will be no convenience store, restaurant or pub.
While tenants can negotiate for expansion rights in a tower or in a flex building, the availability of choices will tend to be much greater for tenants in towers, simply due to the fact that there usually is more total building square footage, and more tenants and more lease rollovers.
Flex space is not for everyone, but if you are a larger tenant (10,000 square feet+), have a stable business and want everyone in one suite and like to save money, flex spaces should be on your tour list.
Have any questions we can help you with? Whether it concerns flex space or any other commercial leasing matters, check out this video which details our process on how we may be able to help. Or you can click here.