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Lessons Learned from $120 Million Spent on Tenant Improvements

Navigating Workspace Real Estate: Learn from others' mistakes with this comprehensive guide to choosing the right option for your business.

Jeffrey Snair


1. Prepare For Change 

The truth is, there is no universal template for the workspace—each team’s needs are unique, requiring an equally distinct solution. When it comes to reinventing your workspace strategy, you can't use old answers to solve new challenges. 

The concept of the open office is very quickly falling by the wayside, despite its continued use. This necessitates a fresh approach that better suits company requirements. As highlighted by Entrepreneur, tackling emerging challenges could instead involve modernizing cubicles for seated privacy, creating expansive collaborative zones for brainstorming, transforming ‘phone booths’ into focused work areas, and more.  

The solutions are endless, and as you make these changes, you're embracing elements that will further enrich your company. Envision a space that aligns with your unique workstyle, reflecting the core of your team's productivity and innovation. 

2. Future Proofing Takes Time

To future-proof effectively, you’ll need to prepare to develop an approach that evolves alongside your team's growth and requirements. Here are some questions to consider in strategy: 

  1. What role does your workspace play, and how can it best align with your team's objectives?

  2. What does organic head count look like in terms of size and composition? 

  3. How will current and future users interact with our office?  

Guided business forecasting is a pivotal tool in getting comfortable with the right amount of long-term risk. By answering these questions, you lay the foundation for an adaptable workspace. 

3. Embrace Proactive Planning

“Organizations waiting until their lease expires means they have fewer options on the market and are rushed into contracts that aren’t aligned with their people or goals.” – Andrew Snair | Director of Client Partnerships DESIGN+BUILD 

To maximize the long-term benefits of your lease, it's paramount to initiate the process with ample time at your disposal. We recommend exploring your workspace options at least two years in advance.  

According to Bill Himmelstein, CEO of Tenant Advisory Group, important factors to consider include looking at the size of the space, location, cost, employee satisfaction, and your relationship with the landlord.   

By embracing proactive planning, you broaden your options, ensuring that your workspace stays in line with your evolving business needs. 

4. Economic Impact on ROI

Amidst interest rate hikes and market fluctuations, we’re going to see new opportunities in favor of tenant leasing. 

According to Forbes Advisor, the federal funds rate has surged to a high of 5.25%-5.50% as of July 2023, a significant shift from just last March when it stood at 0.25% to 0.50%.  

While purchasing commercial properties for business operations was economically advantageous last year, a North Bay Business Journal report emphasizes that the landscape has shifted since 2022: “now, it’s 30% more expensive to buy than rent... Part of that cost difference is that property owners also have been eager to make deals to fill space.” 

5. Make People-Focused Investments 

"The workspace is an investment into your people and future of your organization. Don't go into a lease blind to what your people need to do their best work." – Jeffrey Snair | Co-Founder DESIGN+BUILD 

Your employees are the heartbeat of your organization. Their satisfaction isn't just a feel-good factor—it's a catalyst for productivity and success.  

As highlighted by a recent Gensler study, “61% of workers say they need to work in a modern office to feel most productive in their work.” Failing to consider employee comfort and needs when shaping your workspace can result in reduced morale and lackluster output. 

Involving your employees in workspace decisions goes beyond just a courtesy; it's a strategic move. 

6. Seek Diverse Perspectives

Expand your horizons–engage with brokers and real estate professionals to make well-informed decisions. By consulting multiple sources, you will make the choice that best aligns with your business's vision. Recognizing this, we’re here to support you.  


Your Path Forward: Contact A Workspace Specialist 

Ready to embark on proactive planning? Reach out to our team today, and we’ll start exploring the possibilities for your new office space. 


Share Your Insights and Stories 

Join the conversation and share your experiences by emailing us at By fostering a platform of dialogue and diverse learning, we can collectively shape a better workspace landscape for all. 


Works Cited: 

Breen, Amanda. “Workers Forced to Return to the Office Are Demanding This Surprising, Old-School Feature.” Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, 16 Sept. 2022,  

Himmelstein, Bill. “When To Renew and When to Cancel Your Commercial Lease.” LinkedIn, LinkedIn, 18 July 2023,  

“Logical Position: DESIGN+BUILD Workspace.” Archello, Archello, 2022,  

Peters, Andy. “Many Workers Say They Are Returning To the Office — of the 2010s.” CoStar, CoStar, 25 June 2023,  

Quackenbush, Jeff. “Marin, Sonoma Office Leasing Revives as Interest Rates Rise, Workers Return.” The North Bay Business Journal, The North Bay Business Journal, 10 Aug. 2023,  

Tepper, Taylor. “Federal Funds Rate History 1990 to 2023.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 26 July 2023,


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