Cutting Edge Insights
with Dr. Lee

A Tale of Two Suites

Back in the days of the recession, roughly 2008-2010, I would walk potential tenants through my office then into the vacant space in my building that I was trying to lease.

The reason for this is that I wanted the potential tenant to see evidence of what could be done with a blank slate in a commercial building with no interior load-bearing walls or columns.

The problem was, the prospects didn’t have any imagination.

Whatever feelings they developed walking through my office quickly dissipated as they viewed the vacant space and thought of all the work that would have to be done to transform it into their own.

I was sooooo close to doing a garden-variety build-out to attract tenants when, fortunately, two qualified tenants finally fell into my lap in 2011.

This begs the argument, should one build out commercial rental suites ahead of time (not my preference) or should one wait and build-to-suit? I dread the inevitable request, “Hey, we like the suite and the finishes, but can you move this wall to THAT location?”


Recently, while we were contemplating building out in advance as a way to attract a quality tenant to a building that the pandemic had delayed full lease-up, we happened to stumble upon a financial tenant (Edward Jones) who already knew what they wanted.

So, if we had built in advance, we’d have been moving walls.

And plumbing.

Not fun.

With the Edward Jones suite now occupied, we have one final suite remaining. As we contemplated a “build in advance to attract an as-of-yet-unnamed-mystery-tenant”, we happened upon a counseling group that had a pretty good idea of their preferred layout.

Sigh. This time, a sigh of relief.

Today’s video is actually a composite of two videos – one extolling the potential of the (messy) vacant space, and the latter chronicling our final walk-through of the Edward Jones suite.

I’d like you to see both in case the presence of a few boxes makes you think I’m a hoarder. Or in case your imagination isn’t big enough.

As you think about that, remember you’re only limited in design by building codes, zoning ordinances, and the physical limitations of the structure.

Until next time,

Dr. Lee Newton

How A Doctor Learned To Develop Real Estate

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A Tale of Two Suites


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