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OfficeFinder on Twitter

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We are on Twitter

If you do not know about twitter, you probably should investigate.  It is one of the most popular of the social media websites.  It is pretty simple and straight forward. You are allowed to create an account and post messages of not more than 140 characters, called micro blogging. The goal is to develop a following of people with who you want to share information. Wikipedia goes into more detail, but the easiest way to find out about it is to sign up and play with it.

OfficeFinder will be posting daily about what we are doing in regard to our sales and marketing as well as communicating with our members.

Check it out.

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Guide to Office Relocation - Part 6

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Pre-Move Walkthrough

Conduct a pre-move meeting and walk-through with your selected moving company representatives and primary vendors. This allow you to confirm your pending time-line and clarify responsibilities. Ensure all items have been tagged and labeled for placement in the new space. EVERYTHING should be labeled, even trash cans floor mats, and plants.

Also secure several backup copies of all company data systems including phone and voice mail systems, routers and firewalls, and workstations and servers. Transport the data backup copies to the new location separate from the main system and each other.

Some Small Details Often Overlooked

  • Make sure you have a spare set of keys available for the new space
  • Confirm the electricity is on and the restrooms are working
  • Confirm that your phones and Internet connection are working properly
  • Confirm there are no outstanding obligations to your previous office space

Relocating High Tech Equipment

As you can see relocating a business is an extremely complex task, and no component of this process is more challenging than moving your high tech equipment. You can hire a specialty technology mover, but they can be expensive.  For those companies that wish to manage this task in-house, see our ‘Relocating High-Tech Office Equipment checklist that offers some sound advice for the relocation of high-tech office equipment.


As you can see, a successful commercial relocation requires the consideration of many different factors. We hope this guide has helped to inform you on some of these important considerations relating to the Office Relocation process.

In our final instalment of this series will introduce you to a great new resource we have developed to assist you in a smooth office relocation. Stay tuned.

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General , Office Relocation , Office Space

Guide to Office Relocation - Part 5

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Additional Tips on Selecting a Moving Company

Research all of the contact information for the company including name, physical address (no PO Boxes), and any other names they do business under. If you find more than one firm at the same address, that is a definite red flag.

Also determine how long the company has been in business. Many corporate movers have been doing business for many years so it’s a good idea to work with companies that have been around for at least five years. It also a doesn’t hurt to find out how long they’ve been operating under the current ownership and management structure.

Check to see the company is properly licensed. Properly licensed interstate moving companies will have both a DOT number and a MC number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can verify these numbers  at Intrastate movers aren’t subject to the same regulations, but most states have their own licensing requirements you should check.

Check for Insurance Coverage

Inquire about the company’s insurance coverage - what’s covered and for how much. They should carry insurance that covers your materials while in transit, as well as any damage the movers cause to your old or new properties. While all movers are required to have basic insurance, be sure to check into the limits on their coverage, and consider paying extra for additional insurance if you think you need it. Also make sure they carry current workers’ compensation coverage because if they don’t, you may be liable for any injuries their workers receive.

Note: You can also call FMCSA’s Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline at (888) 368-7238. It’s free, available 24/7 and you can check the complaint history of any interstate mover.

Get Reliable Recommendations

Get reliable recommendations - You must check out potential movers through objective sources like the BBB or your state’s Department of Transportation. A reputable commercial moving company will be listed with both these agencies. Don’t just jump at the lowest price - you need to investigate the estimate to find out if it’s realistic. As they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Get at least three estimates from commercial movers. This will allow you to make a fair, objective comparison. Compare apples to apples. Break down each mover’s estimate into parts and compare them to estimates from other commercial moving services.

Consider factors like the amount of time and the amount of materials estimated. Expect estimates to fall within a reasonable range of each other. A good estimate should be no higher - or lower - than 10 percent of the final cost of the move.

In the next part of our series ‘Guide to Office Relocation’ - Part 6 we will go through the pre-move walkthrough and relocating special items.

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General , Office Relocation , Office Space

Guide to Office Relocations - Part 4

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Other Commercial Mover Selection Considerations

As noted in Part 3, there are options in the type of estimates you can receive, and some companies will charge an hourly rate for an office move and some will give you an estimate based on weight or volume. Also, your business may be able to get a discount if you move during off peak hours. If your moving date is flexible, check with the moving company before booking your relocation date to inquire about this option.

Although the office relocation is similar to a home move in that you can do your own packing, or pay the moving company to do it for you - there is one major difference: Your office will have more heavy equipment, furniture and boxes and other heavy stuff. Also, you will have much more paperwork in an office move and need to ensure that it is protected during the move. You will need to rent special crates and boxes from the moving company in order to successfully move your paperwork.

High-Tech Office Equipment

An Office Relocation generally involves the transportation of valuable high-tech and office systems, and you should hire suitable containers from your moving company to protect those items as well. For large, complicated network systems it may be prudent to hire specialists who will disconnect the equipment, pack it, and install it in the new location. If you lease equipment check your agreement for any moving requirements that are stipulated. Some leasing companies will not allow you to move equipment, and may insist on doing it themselves (for a fee).

Ask prospective movers how they load their vehicles to protect your property, and what equipment they use that can help protect your items. The moving company may simply tell you to lock filing cabinets rather than empty them as they can use equipment to move them easily even when full. Some will insist that desk drawers be emptied even if they can be locked as the contents are generally easily damaged.

Insurance Coverage

Proper insurance coverage is absolutely vital for office moves and you need to discuss the mover’s policy and check out your own before you come to a decision. With office moves, insurance isn’t just about equipment and furniture, it’s also about vital records and the information stored on your computers. You’ll find that most movers won’t insure you for these items and you need to make sure you back-up data and make adequate provisions for your paperwork during the moving process.

If you need to pay extra to get the coverage you need then do so. If you lose something vital you’ll effectively be losing business, and you may also wish to consider a policy that will pay you for lost business if something goes wrong with the move. You also need to consider liability coverage; if movers damage your office building during the moving process (and it’s easily done!) you will generally be held responsible, so you need to know you can claim the costs back. Read the mover’s terms and conditions CAREFULLY. It’s the exclusions and restrictions that will indicate what coverage you may really need.

Also make sure you contact your insurance company to make any changes to your commercial policy that may be necessary prior to your relocation.

In the next part of our series ‘Guide to Office Relocation’ - Part 5 we will give you some additional tips on selecting a commercial mover.

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General , Office Relocation , Office Space

Office Space Market Update

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Recently our Local Rep in Milwaukee gave a speech for the Milwaukee Institute of Real Estate Managers chapter providing them an update on the current office space conditions in the area. While reading it over I realized that Milwaukee office space market is pretty typical of the office market in general everywhere.  Here is the shortened text version of presentation.

The total office market is just under 28,000,000 square feet of class A and B space.   Of that just under 5,000,000 square feet or 17% is vacant

In 1981 net rents were $10 per square foot for suburban Milwaukee class A office space.

In January of 2001 we said in our annual report to the market:

“Rents are at or above their last peak in the mid-80’s, but they are real rents, not laced with large concession packages.  Rents continue to show steady growth”  In 2001 suburban class A rents averaged $14/SF NNN.   

And what happened in 2008?  Real net rents dropped.  With inflation those rents should now be $19.50/SF NNN.   But they are not.  And that is really good news for tenants.

Net rents today, for suburban class A office space are on average

$13/SF  which is $1/SF lower than they were in 2001.   Class B space in recently renovated buildings is an even better deal.

This is a great time for tenants.   Landlords are giving significant concessions to new tenants and to tenants who are renewing their leases early.  Tenants can get free rent or above standard concessions in exchange for a lease commitment.

Among the best news for tenants in 2009 is the amount of sublease space that will be added to the market. Chase, Wachovia, and other financial firms have recently announced layoffs. Citibank is selling Smith Barney to Morgan Stanley    That means that these companies will put their excess office space on the market.  Whether or not they find tenants for that space, the mere fact that the space is available will have a negative impact on lease rates for the market in general.   In some cases these subleases will create interesting and financially advantageous situations for tenants who have some flexibility.  Given this, I think net rents will continue to decline through out 2009  

Tenant Improvements

In the old days, Landlords could borrow the money for Tenant Improvements and either include the payback in the tenants lease rate or amortize the TI dollars over the term of the lease. Now, Tenant Improvement dollars can be difficult for landlords to obtain or borrow.  Sometimes the term of the loan is shorter than the term of the lease.  This is a problem for landlords and it is a problem for tenants.

In a turn around from the old days when tenants were the only ones who had to prove they were credit worthy tenant rep brokers are now asking landlords to provide proof to the tenants in advance that they as landlords have the financial resources to complete tenant improvements and this is before the tenant will even look at their building. 

Milwaukee office submarkets overview

Downtown East is still a strong submarket attractive to many tenants.   Several new Class A buildings are proposed and there are 3 or 4 large Class A tenants looking for space in the next three years.  Normally this would mean we could expect to see a new tower being built in downtown Milwaukee.   But, right now – nothing is normal.  In the short term vacancy rates will rise, absorption will be negative, but I do not think that lease rates will change in 2009.

The real excitement in Downtown Milwaukee in 2008 was west of the river.   And I cannot tell you how many years I have been waiting to say that.F ederal Plaza, Schlitz Park and The Brewery all signed new tenants, all of those tenants are new to this submarket.   The result was 200,000 square feet of positive absorption in 2008.   

Brookfield.  This market was built to accommodate the expansion of office tenants from the relocation and the inner suburbs in the 1970’s and 1980’s.   Although many buildings are well maintained they are starting to show their age.  A careful review of the market will help tenants find hidden gems with quality management and very attractive lease rates.

Mayfair.  This is a market with 2,500,000 square feet of space and a 17% vacancy rate.   The Forum building was taken back by the lender and I think this will mean some very aggressive lease rates in the short term.   

The North Shore.   Just under 2,000,000 square feet of space.  The good news is that office tenants are finally finding their way to Bayshore and they are getting attractive lease packages.   

Park Place.    This is a market that caters to tenants who occupy large blocks of space.   The vacancy rate is just under 16%

The South side, West Allis and the airport. This is a market that is looking for respect.   There is no question that 2009 will show increased vacancy and lower lease rates.

The Third Ward and Walker’s Point.   I think that the numbers for this market are deceiving.  Because there is only 1.4 million square feet of space even a gain or loss of 20,000 square feet appears to be more dramatic than it is. There have been new tenants moving in, existing tenants moving around and a significant trend towards tenants becoming owners of office condo’s.  This market is going to continue to be a generator of economic activity and that it will remain attractive to tenants as well as companies who want to own their own space.

Outlook for the future.

There is no question that lease rates will stay flat or decrease. I also expect landlord concessions, including free rent to increase

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General , Milwaukee office space , Office Space