Every marketing business, operation or team needs a place to call home. The office essentially becomes a home away from home for many people, as it’s where they spend most of their time during waking hours. With the right team, office members will even become a pseudo-family, which helps to create a loyal, productive and happy community.
What many organizations fail to see — especially small marketing business — is that an office or location plays a large role in how satisfied employees are. The more homey a place looks, the more at home people feel. And just because you’re using the building as an office or headquarters doesn’t mean it needs to be a conventional structure. In other words, leasing space in a large office building or traditional enterprise facility is not always the best and most productive solution.
One idea is to lease or sublet old buildings, whether uptown, downtown or in the ‘burbs. The practice involves taking a building, often not originally meant for commercial use, and repurposing it for a new-world marketing business community. Setting up your headquarters in a historic district is the perfect example of this practice.
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Introducing Adaptive Reuse: Historic District Applications
Much of it boils down to one simple question — why build a new structure or facility when there are so many practical opportunities out there already? Besides the prospect of repurposing an already beautiful property, there are many benefits to adaptive reuse.
Believe it or not, you’re still feeding the economy and offering potential work opportunities through adaptive reuse, namely because most properties need to have some sort of remodeling, revision or upgrade.
A marketing business especially derives pride from representation and reputation, which can be boosted through the repurposing of existing historic properties. You’re giving back to the local community while helping to improve the economy. Moreover, you’re injecting life back into an old building that many have grown accustomed to over the years.
Here are some other benefits:
- Local districts actively work to protect the investment of historic properties, including SMBs that set up shop in them.
- Because they require the maintenance and reuse of existing materials and structures, local historic districts are often better for the environment.
- Historic properties tend to appreciate value at greater rates than the rest of the market.
- Historic buildings tend to make better use of natural resources such as lighting, cross-ventilation and climate-friendly materials.
- A local historic district has a positive impact on the surrounding community and economy
- Thanks to aesthetics, dimensions and experiences, many historic properties provide social and psychological benefits.
6 Things to Consider About Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings
Keep these tips in mind when searching for or selecting potential properties for your historic development venture:
1. Reuse Is Not the Same as Preservation
Reuse is pretty much in line with the definition of the word. It is the repurposing or upgrading of existing properties to meet the demands of a new age, sometimes even by incorporating modern technologies and renovations. Preservation, on the other hand, is about restoring a property to its former glory using as close to authentic materials and practices as possible to the original structure.
Depending on the structure, some communities may not allow certain upgrades or changes to a particular building. It’s best to identify and understand these requirements before leasing or purchasing a property. Reviewing local properties listed on the National Register is a good place to start.
2. Determine Highest and Best Use
Highest and Best Use, or HBU, is an incredibly important valuation method that helps determine the profitability and return of a piece of land or property.
It all starts with a property appraiser who will look at legally permissible developments, physical support, productivity improvements and general economics. In other words, what properties will allow you to upgrade, revise and operate as needed to stay in the green.
Some properties just don’t fit the bill and should be written off early. Others pose an incredible opportunity that works in your favor.
3. Find Your Contractors Next
While many may start at the property leasing and purchase phase, it makes more sense to initialize a team of contractors, land planners and engineers at the same time. You might have your eyes set on a property, for instance, that no one in their right mind would touch.
To ensure your development goes smoothly, work with contractors during your search to discuss how and when they can implement your plans. They can help you find the right properties, materials and designs that best match your vision.
3. Understand and Identify Obsolescence
The best part of repurposing a historic property is that it brings its character along for the ride. Original brick walls, beautiful architecture and unique layouts are all part of the deal. However, as amazing as some of those elements can be, it’s important to note what can and cannot be changed.
While upgrading historic buildings, one must consider physical obsolescence, which relates to issues that cannot be remedied by upgrades. Some materials and designs will need to be replaced in full to maintain compliance and efficiency. Others simply will not be able to support the kind of upgrades and enhancements you might want.
It’s challenging to safely drill into a brick wall, accent or otherwise, to insert wiring for the company’s IT network, for instance. Furthermore, many of those materials are going to hinder wireless performance and experiences, which can be detrimental to cybersecurity.
4. Know About Available Incentives
Depending on the property’s location, there are state and federal programs you can leverage as an added benefit.
Take the time to research and apply for these programs, where applicable. It’s a smart idea to hire property lawyers and professional assistance to ensure you’re making the most of your new investment.
6. Consider the Surrounding Area
While it may be an excellent idea to utilize a building in the middle of a rural community or the suburbs, you may discover later that it’s severely lacking in terms of nearby amenities. You and your employees both benefit immensely by having more practical businesses nearby.
Restaurants, bars and entertainment venues can provide a much-needed reprieve from busywork, and employees need frequent breaks. Having local suppliers nearby can reduce the time it takes to acquire new components or items. A bustling community center may also bring in new customers or clients.
It’s best to set up shop in an area that’s already rife with activity, shopping and entertainment. The impact of doing so may be less prevalent in our current world state, thanks to COVID, but things will pick up again and that’s going to be a huge boon to any operation.
Preserving the Heart and Soul
There’s no sense in wasting time and resources to build a new structure from the ground up when so many buildings are sitting vacant and empty. It doesn’t necessarily mean every property is a viable candidate for your marketing business, big or small, but it does mean there are opportunities available.
There are also quite a few things to consider when searching for and selecting properties, such as physical obsolescence, the general location, surrounding communities and regulatory limitations. They also go hand-in-hand with many benefits, like the option to utilize a beautiful structure or building, more efficient operations, cost savings and higher employee satisfaction.
When all is said and done, preserving the heart and soul of a historic property, while upgrading it for modern operations, can be worlds better than building a new facility from scratch.