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3 Green Business Tips You Can Borrow from Whole Foods Markets

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"These days, it is important to try to work in green business practices when you’re starting a new business or trying to reinvigorate a current one. Consumers are putting a lot of value into businesses that show that they care about the planet and their communities enough to take steps to better both of them. If you are thinking of starting to lean into sustainable practices, Whole Foods Market is an excellent example of a business that is putting a lot of energy and effort into reducing their carbon footprint.

Here are just a few ways that any business can borrow tips from Whole Foods:

  • Technology like power monitors can help you reduce the amount of energy that is wasted in your office space.
  • Set up a system that will help your employees set up a carpool or support the use of public transportation.
  • Recycle and use recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer waste.

Whole Foods also does a lot to invest in alternative energy sources and provide informat

ion to the public about how they are trying to do as little harm as possible while running their business. Does your South Florida area business already do some of these things? Join us on Facebook and let us know some of the innovative ways you are turning your company green!"

Source & Photo Credit: Whole Foods Market via Morris Southeast Group

Green Office , Office Space

The Office Lease Signing

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 After you and your office tenant rep have negotiated a lease for your office space that protects the interest of your business and is agreeable to the property owner, it is finally time to sit down and sign the legal document, a binding office space lease that allows you and your team to occupy the chosen space. You should have your tenant rep there to cover any last minute questions you might have.

Having a real estate profession in the person of your selected office tenant rep present may seem redundant since you have sought counsel and advice repeated during negotiations from your tenant rep. Yet, verify that the changes you have requested to the office space lease have been worded correctly in the final document can be tricky for those with less experience. A tenant rep hasthe experience necessary to be sure the wording does not turn a change made to favor your interests into a clause that could trip you up and actually cost you money. Remember, your goal is obtain the best possible office space at the least cost with right to require or have performed the tenant improvements agreed upon and avoid passing rising or extra costs on to you. Another point your tenant rep will re-check will ensure that the rent increases over time do not become excessive.

Do not allow yourself to be rushed into signing the final office space lease without thoroughly comparing the notes you made of requested changes to the final document. Plan at least one to one and one-half hours for the lease signing to allow the thorough review. Whether on purpose or inadvertently, it is possible an important change could have been left out or misworded, changing the intent of the verbiage completely. If any part of the lease does not meet with the changes negotiated, stop the signing process and require an edited lease be delivered before signing.

You should also require a property checklist which itemizes the fixtures provided in the office space. For example, if the landlord is providing a refrigerator or table and chair in the break area, these items would be listed, inspected and any damages, however slight, should be noted on the checklist. Also, all walls, flooring, ceiling, doors, service outlets, and environment climate control units should be inspected during lease signing and their exact condition noted. Any damage, even small dings or excessive wear and tear, should be noted so that when you eventually relocate and release the office space to the property owner you will not be changed for these damages. Your tenant rep will help you go through the property and look for items necessary for your checklist. Many landlords use a standard checklist so be sure to note any items on the list that do not apply to the office space you are leasing.

You will need to bring payment to the lease signing table for the security deposit, any key deposits and rental payments, or whatever other payment arrangement is outlined in the lease. Customarily initial payments include first month of rent but sometimes rent for first and last month is required. Sometimes if significant tenant improvements must be completed before occupancy (be sure this is noted in the lease along with completion dates), or the occupancy date has been established for sometime in the near future, only payment of the security deposit may be required at lease signing with rental payment due upon taking occupancy of the office space. Payments can usually be in the form of a business check, money order, or certified cashiers check and in some cases payment can be made with a personal check, debit or credit card. Most landlords no longer accept cash due to the inherent danger of carrying significant amounts of cash and the possible accounting confusion if business cash becomes mixed with personal cash. Be sure to understand in advance what methods of payment are acceptable to your landlord and arrive prepared with the correct payment in one of the acceptable forms.

Once you and landlord have both signed the lease for your new commercial office space it is too late for further negotiations. You will be given keys to the property and it becomes your responsibility. You can then pat yourself and your real estate tenant rep for a negotiating job well done. 

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By: James Osgood

Lease Negotiations , Office Leasing Tips , Office Rental , Office Space

When it Comes to Renting Office Space, The Devil is in the Details

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When negotiating an office space lease or rental, you may find that the devil is hiding in some of the details and these can cost you lots of money over the life of the lease. Turn to your office lease broker for experience advice regarding how to negotiate out these demons before signing a contract for office space. An old idiom says “God is in the details” which means that anything you do should be done well. In this case, your goal is to turn those devilish little hidden clauses into the best possible agreement with the landlord of the commercial office space that everyone can live with for the life of the lease.

Initially all clauses in an office space lease tend to lean in favor of the landlord. Many of these clauses can be changed to at least give the commercial renter a fair exchange for the rent and other fees agreed upon. A few clauses to be on the look out for include:

Length of Lease and Renewal Options: The initial office lease period should give you enough time to settle in and determine how this location works for your business but not so long that you must pay a stiff penalty if you decide to move on after two or three years. If you do like the location and find the size just right for your immediate future, renewal options should offer you the right to sign another lease for a reasonable period without a huge rent increase.

Rent Increases: Speaking of increasing rent, watch out for the clause that establishes the amount or percentage at which rent can go up and the specific periods at which this change can occur. Rent should not increase more than annually and should have a reasonable cap set on it so that the cost of leasing the office space does not become outrageous in a short period of time.

Cost Transferal:  Be sure you and your office lease broker understand exactly what costs can be passed long to you or what percentage of those costs can be passed along. Examples can include property tax increases, specific repair costs not caused by your occupancy and the increasing cost of services to the building. Your rent increase should cover the costs associated with increased service costs or taxes and only those building repairs caused by you should be passed along to you.

Landlord’s Right to Early Termination: Check what verbiage is used regarding what, if any, rights the landlord has to terminate your office space lease early and what conditions must be met to justify such early termination. If this clause is too liberal in favor of the landlord, you could easily find yourself seeking different office space much sooner than your business plan set forth. This can be expensive and time consuming for your business and can be avoided with the right wording in this area of the lease.

Payment from Corporate Owners: Watch out for verbiage indicating payment can be sought from the corporate owners rather than the corporation itself.  While some office space owners like to have this protection in the event a business becomes financially insolvent, it does give a landlord too much recourse into the business owners’ private finances to allow entry into the final lease.

These are only a few of the clauses that an office space renter should be on the alert for. Turn to your office space broker for the best possible advice on all areas of the lease and lease negotiation process. 

Office Lease Location and Negotiations

By: James Osgood

Lease Negotiations , Office Leasing Tips , Office Rental , Office Space

Regus Continues Growing - Opening New Office Space Center in Rwanda

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I saw this headline and was surprised. "Regus to open new centre in Rwanda to capture rapid East African growth." With their most recent positive mid-year results, center expansion appears to be at the forefront of their strategies to continue their positive financials; center growth all over the world. Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces, now has locations in seven countries in East Africa, including: Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Mauritius and Madagascar, and a global presence in 97 countries.

Kigali City Tower Kigali City Tower

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Executive Suites , Flexible Workspace , Office Space

Mid-Year Office Space Market Report for the US

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Costar's Mid-year National Office Space Report is out with some very interesting and comprehensive information included. The report is a very interesting read. It starts out with a broad overview:

"The U.S. Office market ended the second quarter 2012 with a vacancy rate of 12.1%.  The vacancy rate was down over the previous quarter, with net absorption totaling positive 20,718,242 square feet in the second quarter.  Vacant sublease space decreased in the quarter, ending the quarter at 48,602,935 square feet.  Rental rates ended the second quarter at $21.38, an increase over the previous quarter.  A total of 160 buildings delivered to the market in the quarter totaling 6,946,279 square feet, with 59,338,973 square feet still under construction at the end of the quarter."

But it also gets into much more detailed information by office market. I thought that one of the more interesting charts included was that of the historical office space rental rates. 
Historical office psace rates
Just a little bit of a roll since 4Q 2000 and has been pretty flat over the past 6 quarters. If I were a pure technician, I would say the chart is getting ready to bump up again. We will see.

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Lease Negotiations , Office Rental , Office Space , Office Space Negotiations , Office Vacancy Rate