Shop Talk

Make choice to renovate or build your space

It’s important to house your business in an environment that promotes productivity and efficiency. Business owners who want to be their own landlords have two choices. They can find an existing office space and modify or renovate it to meet their needs, or build something new from the ground up.

When looking for a space, business owners have many factors to consider: Where should the business be located? Should the property be leased or owned? Can the space be created from the ground up or will it have to be repurposed from an existing structure? What will it cost and how long will it take until it is move-in ready?

Chester Allen, senior vice-president with CBRE, a commercial real estate firm in Raleigh, works with clients to analyze which solution makes the most sense for each type of business.

“Sometimes it may be a better deal if you’re buying land and building and starting fresh as opposed to retrofitting an existing building,” Allen said. “Additionally, as the real estate market has tightened up, we are seeing existing properties trade well above replacement costs. This fundamental principal of supply and demand has local companies considering developing their own property more than ever.”

Allen says business owners may be surprised to find that they really can afford to build their own space.

“Interest rates are low and there is a lot of lending in that environment,” he said. “Money is very accessible and your down payment may be very similar for a construction land loan as it would be to buy a building.”

But oftentimes finding the perfect space to build requires being creative. As the Triangle has grown the availability of open commercial space has dwindled.

“Finding a vacant lot in an infill location is almost nonexistent,” Allen says. “Given the shortage of raw (land that can be developed), the new trend in the Triangle market is redevelopment. Those antiquated properties that have been there forever that are past useful life are being redeveloped,” Allen says. “Traditionally, we have seen this almost exclusively in downtown Raleigh and Durham, but also in more suburban locations like North Raleigh or Cary.”

Those types of opportunities may include rezoning residential areas that have been around for decades on once-quiet streets that have become major thoroughfares. Their usefulness as residences may be over, but they are in great locations for businesses.

Reach Carla Turchetti at