If you’ve bought a commercial space in a dangerous area, use the design of inner and exterior space to enhance the building for prospective tenants. Choose wisely and you’ll be able to sell the building’s benefits easily.
If you purchased the property because it is less expensive than buildings in other areas, you can combine relatively low rents with design to make the buildings attractive and ensure that your turnover and vacancy rate will remain low.
Here are the top five design points to consider when building in a dangerous area.
Choose the Area Wisely
All the design renovations in the world will not help if you choose a bad building in a dangerous area. Unsafe areas are like any other real estate market: variations exist within the segment.
Building a property next to a condemned or burned-out building, for example, is a very bad idea. Vacant buildings in dangerous areas can all too easily become sites of drug trading and other crime. They are also highly likely to attract the homeless. They can become health hazards, drawing rats and other vermin. If your property is next to one of these areas, it will suffer accordingly.
The best idea is to choose the mid- to high-end of the dangerous neighborhood. Areas that are close to schools, shopping centers and highways will attract tenants more than those farther away, just as they do in other neighborhoods.
Many neighborhoods start to gentrify because the bad neighborhood makes the properties cheap, but the mid to high end makes them decent enough to be in. You want to position yourself to catch gentrification if it happens.
Make It Safe
Dangerous neighborhoods are less safe than other neighborhoods! There is more crime. There are more robberies and muggings on the street, and there can be more theft inside of buildings.
Make sure your building is safe. A gate-and-lock system can be ideal. It ensures the safety of tenants, and it’s visible to prospective tenants and will reassure them. You can, for example, control who enters the property with a pedestrian portal. No one without access permission will be able to enter.
Be sure to invest in quality safety features within the building as well. Medco locks are the highest quality. Safety systems that are keyless and connected to local police or private security services can be highly attractive.
Maximize Light and Space
One of the most attractive elements of any space is the amount of light and space it contains. Large windows that allow sunlight are a design feature attractive to any tenant. If your building already has large windows, great! If not, it is worth retrofitting the property to feature large windows. Design them to be modern and contemporary.
You can compete successfully with landlords in less dangerous areas by offering more bang for the buck: more square footage for the same rent they’d pay in a safer area. The combination of offering safety and a deal on square footage is unbeatable for many businesses, from the startups to the cost-conscious.
You can also simply offer more space for employees. They are more productive if they have plenty of space. Enlarge worker space beyond rabbit warrens. Include break-out areas where employees can congregate outside of their offices.
Conduct an Energy Assessment
People are becoming more conscious of the need for green building. It’s good business to ensure your buildings are clean. An energy assessment examines the building to make sure that it is as environmentally friendly as possible.
An assessment gives your building an EnergyStar score from 1 to 100. It factors in total annual energy use from all fuel sources — natural gas, electricity, steam, chilled water, propane, wood and more. It also factors in the load your equipment and systems have, building size, number of workers, hours the building is in use and more.
Maintain the Building and the Grounds
Buildings in dangerous areas are often not well maintained. People in the neighborhoods may lack the disposable income for good maintenance. Landlords may not want to spend the money on adequate maintenance, fearing that vandalism will erode or erase the effort.
You have a great opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition. Paint the building and refurbish sidings, moldings and roofs once you ensure they’re safe from intrusion. Then, landscape the grounds to be green and environmentally conscious.
Green environments are healthier. Plants and trees can make areas cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, saving energy costs as well as enhancing the area.
Buying properties in a dangerous area can be good for business, and these five design tips will make your properties the most desirable on the block.