Culture Pilot - Office Space of the Week

For an old-school oil and gas town, there is no shortage of awesome office spaces. The coolest thing is no matter how many great spaces we find, they all have their own unique energy and locations. This weeks feature is Culture Pilot, who is accelerating the design and marketing culture in Houston.  Not only is their client list impressive (National Geographic and Style channel - to name a couple), but their commitment to Houston and the community is second to none. They work closely with organizations such as TEDx Houston, Support Local Grow Together.  Their latest project is SURGE, a new energy accelerator in Houston. This is pretty exciting as this the first of its kind in Houston and has been a very successful model as TechStars, Y-Combinator, and Capital Factory have proved.

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Infographic - Employee Engagement : Working Remotely Making a Bad Problem Worse?

Although Houston commercial real estate has softened in recent years due to cyclical reasons (see 2008 - 2011 economy!), many predict Houston office leasing has other new issues to confront, one of which is letting employees work remotely (some call it tele-working). However, in an age where employees feel less and less engaged to their employers (meaning loyalty), is the savings in cost of not having or reducing your office space in Houston worth the potential loss in talent? The below infographic seems to support the the idea that having office space for your employees to connect can provide exponential benefits, including engagement and productivity, which ultimately hit your bottom line.

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Distressed Landlords: One More Concern for Tenants

One thing that many prospective tenants often don’t think about when looking for space for rent in Houston is the financial situation of the landlord.  Current tenants looking to renew overlook this as well.  Over the last couple of years with the continuing problems in the economy, the landlord’s financial health has become especially important.  If your landlord is not doing well financially several bad things can happen to you as a tenant.

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Office Space Of The Week - IntegratePR

This week we are featuring the Houston downtown office space of integratePR, a local public relations and social media firm located on Vine Street in EaDo Houston.  TheSquareFoot had the pleasure of visiting integratePR's offices, located in a refurbished industrial-style complex with a historical look and feel.  The building, named Vine Street Studios, was originally the Union Transfer and Storage Building built in 1917 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior. There is a total of 57,500 square feet of net rentable office/studio space, plus 25,000 square feet of rentable basement space, for a total of 82,500 square feet. Allie Herzog, Founder and President of integratePR was nice enough to give us a tour of her second story downtown Houston office which has an open concept, exposed air conditioning and lighting ducts, and is encased in red brick.[gallery link="file"]

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What Should I Expect From The Leasing Process?

Congrats, if you made it this far you are on the right path to finding the perfect space. As you may have heard, when searching and finding the right space you can expect to frustrated and baffled at times. Commercial Real Estate is a massive industry with lots of jargon that involves everything from buying land, to developing buildings, to leasing them, to selling them. In addition, its an old-school business, which has yet to adopt technology and which benefits from protecting information and uneducated consumers. For starters, the word commercial real estate is used interchangeably in all four aspects described above, but our goal is limited to helping consumers lease (some people use term "rent") space for their business.

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Why Can't I Just Do This Myself?

You can try…but why?  How many leases have you signed recently? Do you know the market rent for commercial space in each individual neighborhood or building in Houston?  How large of a tenant improvement build-out package should you ask for?  How about some free rent?  Is this landlord known as being easy to work with or will he find clauses to squeeze you on in 6 months because he is having financial trouble?

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Texas Office Space to Benefit from Corporate Relocations - Top 10 in the US!

As Prime Property pointed out this past Friday (try saying that 5 times fast!), Texas was once again in the top 10 for corporate relocations.  Texas has had a significant positive inflow of corporates for every year in the last decade.  This is obviously great news for Texas real estate...and every type of it.  For starters it's great for Texas office space landlords.  These corporations move to Texas and need Texas office space of course, but then think about the next group of happy landlords.  Corporations bring workers, these workers need places to live (you're welcome multi-family landlords) and these workers shop (you're welcome retail landlords).

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Should You Use A Tenant Broker When Negotiating A Lease Renewal?

While talking to businesses all over the city about finding office, retail, or warehouse space for their company, a question that regularly pops up is whether or not the services of Houston commercial real estate brokers are needed when negotiating lease renewals. The short answer is ABSOLUTELY!

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From Books to Super Hero Briefs? H M Could Be Moving Into The Galleria Borders Location

We've now heard rumors from several sources saying that the Galleria Houston retail space for lease currently occupied by Borders, could be the new location of hot clothing retailer H & M.  The news coming out last month that all Borders locations will close nationwide, left questions as to what kind of large big name retail tenant could fill the sizable void in the Galleria left by such a large brand.  We may have an answer, although it seems a little early to be sure.

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Condemnation Awareness 101 - Avoiding Common Lease Pitfalls

Condemnation is a term that describes a government entity’s taking property through eminent domain. A commercial lease in Houston may be affected by condemnation through partial taking, in which an adjacent property or part of the property is taken, or it might be affected by total taking, in which the entire property is taken.

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New Shiny, Versatile Frost Bank Makes For An Appealing Houston Commercial Property

How's this for a traditional bank?  Frost Bank opened state-of-the-art branch in Rice Village, which made for another of the more interesting new Houston commercial properties. Here's the kicker, it's not just a place for banking transactions, but can serve as an alternate location for businesses, organizations, and boards to hold special events and meetings.  This kind of complex shows how cutting edge properties can diversify and get the most use out of a single location.

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8th Wonder Brewery - Entrepreneurs Shaking Up Local Beer Scene

We had been anxiously waiting to go visit 8th Wonder Brewery; especially after all the press they had been receiving from Swamplot and CultureMap in Houston lately. We met one of the Co-Founders, Ryan Soroka at their newly leased location in downtown Houston (specifically Eado). You could see the excitement brewing (sorry couldn’t help it…) as he unlocked the door and rolled up the metal bay doors to his soon to be converted industrial space in Houston.

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2011 Mid Year Houston Office Leasing Update - The Top Spot

With the summer winding down (in calendar days, definitely not the heat...), let's take a look at a mid-year office market update and see how Houston stacks up against some other big markets in the country.  According to CoStar  U.S. office leasing remained very strong, despite slower than expected job growth.  As we alluded to in our 2011 Q1 report, Houston office tenants have been taking advantage of very favorable concessions (i.e. giveaways from landlords) and rental rates and upgrading to nicer facilities offering bargain lease terms.  The trend seems to be carrying on.

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Commercial Leasing Definitions - Building Class

Building Class for commercial real estate in Houston refers to the quality of property.  Class A office buildings are Generally 100,000 sq. ft. or larger (five or more floors), concrete and steel construction, built after 1980, business/support amenities, and well located with great traffic access.  These properties are usually very well-managed with on site support day in and day out.  Class B buildings are typically renovated and in good locations. Newer buildings are smaller in size, could be wood frame construction, and/or in non-prime location. They still have high quality management and tenants.  Class C buildings refer to older, un-renovated and of any size in average to fair condition.  Building infrastructure and technology is outdated.  You'll often notice older/slower elevators, low ceilings, smaller bathrooms not in pristine condition, and poor parking conditions when touring a C class building.

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Houston Retail Space - So Long Borders

The news broke a few days ago that the Borders Bookstore chain has filed for bankruptcy and will likely see close to 400 stores close down nationwide.  Houston will most likely lose it's remaining five Houston Borders locations, which will add to the large amounts of vacant Houston retail space the city has been carrying for years.  Not long ago we saw another big box retailer, Circuit City, share a similar fate and some of those vacancies have yet to be filled nationwide.

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Online Listings - Things Are Not Always As They May Seem

After reading, Where Real Estate Listings Fail, we thought we would address how this translates to the search for office space listings online. You would think looking for commercial real estate to lease in Houston would be easy in this technology driven age (I mean I can find the best chinese food within a mile on my iPhone in seconds). This is not for lack of trying... there are hundreds of websites dedicated to listing properties, which include many attributes, including photos, descriptions, and prices. What consumers do not know is that online listings can be dangerous and counter-productive for a few reasons.

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TheSquareFoot and Match.Com | Same Story Different Industry?

Mashable recently had an interesting post, The Love Equation: How Match.com Calculates Your Ideal Mate. Since one of TheSquareFoot’s goals is help “match” you to the right resources to lease commercial property (whether it be the right tenant broker or empowering you with educational content and tools), I thought it would be interesting to look at the most interesting similarities between Match.com’s equation and TheSquareFoot.

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Commercial Leasing Definitions - Default

In the landlord-tenant relationship for an office in Houston, commercial lease default occurs when the tenant fails to pay the proper rent in a timely manner. As a safety net, landlords commonly require a new tenant to pay a security deposit, which may be used to offset defaults in payment of rent and other monetary obligations under the rental agreement. Generally, the landlord is required to give the tenant notice of the default before eviction or the application of the security deposit proceeds to the payment in default.  The fixing of a definite default date for payment of rent can be critical if it becomes necessary to evict a tenant for a default in the payment of rent. Houston commercial landlords may often require a background and/or reference check on prospective tenants in an attempt to minimize defaults in rent payments.

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Suburban vs Urban Market Recoveries

This article from yesterday's Wall Street Journal discusses the "widening divide" seen in the recoveries of suburban and central business district (CBD) properties following the Great Recession.  As usual, most of the data highlighted in the article centers around the major East Coast markets of New York, Washington DC, and Boston.  The trends seem to pervade other markets as well, with Houston commercial real estate being not all too dissimilar.

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