Recently we took a break from our efforts of bringing efficiency and transparency to Houston small businesses and entrepreneurs who were looking for space for their business. We ate at Sushi Pop located across from Memorial City Mall on I-10 and Bunker Hill because we had heard good things, and knew it was owned by the same group as Azuma and Uptown sushi. The sushi was delicious but we were surprised by the fantastic build-out and retail space. The inside was meticulously decorated and felt open and inviting. It is usually difficult to find a reasonably priced sushi retail establishments in Houston, which has awesome food and also great restaurant space, but Sushi Pop has our seal of approval!
This week TheSquareFoot is featuring the office of Green Business Bureau, which aims to aid companies and organizations to become environmentally friendly or "Go Green". Green Business Bureau believes that not only can green business practices and processes help protect the environment, they may also help a company improve its bottom line. We thought this was an awesome concept and wanted to check out the hub of this exciting Houston-based venture first hand. Located on the second story of the building housing Brian O'Neill's Pub, this unique setup for a Rice Village office in Houston looked ideal for a company full of so many young faces.
It doesn't seem that long ago when I attended Startup Weekend Houston in February, and really caught a glimpse of what the startup scene was like here. TheSquareFoot was a brand new idea then, and I was excited to attend an event like this for the first time. I remember being nervous walking in because A) this would be the first event I attended of its kind, B) I didn't know ANYONE, C) I knew I would be pitching for the first time in front of a large audience, and D) I had no idea what kind of feedback I would get on our concept. Most people outside of the industry don't know much about commercial real estate leasing, and it's almost impossible to make it seem like a glamorous business.
Reading through Zag.com and TrueCar’s models, it struck us that car buying and commercial leasing is not all that different. We've already been explaining to people how the search for a commercial lease was changing in the same fashion that the car buying experience did about five to eight years ago. Back then, the average automobile consumer would drive to multiple dealerships, talk to salesmen, talk to their friends, and maybe buy a Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds magazine.The consumer was trying to get educated prior to making a major purchase. Today, the same consumer gets online, learns the process, the sales tricks, the best time to buy, and scans the available options. They arrive at the dealership with a graduate-level education compared to the old way of buying a car. The similarities don’t stop there. When you buy a car, the dealer has an end price in mind and tries to confuse the bottom line by lowering the sticker price, tweaking the down payment, adjusting the interest rate, or a multitude of other variables.
We love connecting with old friends who have been involved in the startup world and chatting about their experiences with office space, and how it factored into the growth of their companies. TheSquareFoot caught up with Shion Deysarkar, CEO at Datafiniti. Datafiniti is a search engine for data.
Last week I attended a networking event at NYU poly labs hosted by CBS alumni who office there. I had a chance to catch up with our buddy Ben Zhuk of BestVendor. Trying to fish for some business, I asked him what happens when people outgrow their space there. He said most try to take over a lease of a startup who is in a space that has grown too small for them as they themselves need to expand. I told him those are great if you can find them, but they aren’t abundant in most markets.
Written by: Linda Day Harrison of theBrokerList.com, a way to unite commercial real estate organizations and affiliated members so brokers may message and find each other or groups of their colleagues for future reference.
TheSquareFoot got the chance to chat with Nick Ducoff, CEO & Co-Founder of Infochimps and an old friend, about how office space factored into the growth of his company from an Austin startup based in an apartment to commercial space on West 6th Street. Infochimps is a data platform for apps and analytics.
Recently, we went on an adventure to the Blinds.com offices on Richmond off the Beltway in Houston. I am not sure what we expected, but we were blown away by the energy and creativity glowing throughout their office space.
Come on out on October 18th to hear my better looking co-founders discuss the in's and out's of the commercial real estate leasing process. The FREE event being graciously hosted by our friends at Caroline Collective who we have talked about here before. They will be kicking things off at 7.
Chuck Gordon, founder and CEO of SpareFoot joined us to talk about their Austin office space and his experience with different office spaces through the growth of his company. SpareFoot is the world’s largest, simplest and best marketplace for self-storage. They also provide leading web marketing solutions for storage operators. SpareFoot currently offices at 701 Brazos Street, Suite 700 Austin, TX 78701.
From GlobeSt, Kuwait Finance House in a partnership with Grosvenor is set to invest more than half a billion dollars in private-pay senior living facilities and medical office buildings. Although the fund will target mostly the coasts, we can assume that due to their interest in medical office buildings, Houston will surely get a look or two as it is home to one of the largest stocks of medical office space to lease in the world.
This week we are featuring Forthea, an internet marketing company that helps businesses and brands thrive online. Their office in Greenway is located on Alabama and embodies the creativity and spirit their firm creates for their clients. We love their name and one of the meanings of the Greek word "thea" is 'sight', so it quite literally means 'for-sight'. Not to be simple, you can see the additional meanings here.
Wow, we all know that commercial real estate can often times be slow to adopt to new trends in technology. So much of the industry is driven by personal relationships, referrals, and physical networking that commercial real estate providers and specialists aren't always as open minded about changes in technology as professionals in other industries are. Don't get us started down that road today, but what about on the consumer side of the business?
On Monday in my Real Estate Transactions class we had the pleasure of having Lloyd Goldman, CEO of BLDG and EVP Scott Zecher come to discuss their distressed purchase of 1372 Broadway in the Garment District in 2008. As the case states, they are “one of New York City’s savviest and most seasoned real estate investors” so it was very interesting to hear them discuss the ins and outs of that deal as well as hear their general thoughts on the industry. BLDG is both an investor and operator so they also had thoughts on the New York office and retail leasing markets.
Here at TheSquareFoot, we haven’t spent too much time yet talking about industrial and warehouse space. This is a tad surprising since the Houston industrial space market is one of the larger and more robust in the country. We will endeavor to make up for lost time…starting now.
There have been several reports recently that popular neighborhood grocery store Trader Joe's will be making its way to Houston soon, which made many locals who have visited a location in another market quite giddy. The outfit was started on the West Coast in the 1960's, and has built up a popular cult following ever since. Known for having "innovative" and hard to find foods that just so happen to also taste great, Trader Joe's was also known to be somewhat of a pioneer in its marketing efforts - putting out a newsletter in the 70's mainly about the wines and foods that were sold at the store, as well as having a line of private label products.
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.
We talk a lot on TheSquareFoot about all kinds of issues that can arise when looking for office and retail space for lease, and we came across this article which does a great job of outlining some key issues specific to leasing restaurant space. Here are some of the points that hit home:
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.
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.
TheSquareFoot got a chance to chat with Misti Morales - Marketing Director at The Dinerstein Companies, a fully integrated real estate development company with a focus on apartment homes and student housing across the U.S. She shed some light on how social media is changing the commercial real estate world right before our eyes.
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"]
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.
Check out our latest promotional video on Why TheSquareFoot?
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?
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).
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!
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.
In Houston and throughout Texas, one of the best franchises around is Texadelphia. The cheesesteaks and queso are ridiculous and the space the franchisee chooses usually fits in with the community and is a great place to grab a bite (see Rice Village, Westheimer, or Cy-Fair).