In continuation of a previous post I thought I would finish my thoughts on what I believe to be important to rate an office building as an A class facility. Many office landlords like to claim their office buildings as being class A facilities whine fact they are truly a B class or even C class facility.
The building may be a fantastic high rise tower in Downtown Dallas that has been managed and owned by a great company for the past five years. Then an announcement is made that the building is under new ownership and management. It is possible that if the building changes some of its policies and procedures or just defers maintenance over a period of time it could drop from being an A+ building to a B building.
- Financial Stability of Ownership
- Property Management Company
- Building Security
- Building Engineers
The financial stability of the ownership is critical to the quality of the office building. Inside the building there are many expensive pieces of equipment that can fail at the most inopportune time. When this occurs you want to be in a facility that has a landlord with deep pockets and the ability to have the reapers done quickly.
In 1986 I was managing a Dallas high-rise called San Jacinto Tower (2100 Ross). During the mid morning a section of the electrical duct system blew apart. The tower had persons trapped in elevators, no lighting and tenants walking down dark stairwells. It was a really difficult situation.
Thankfully the building was owned by a Trammell Crow Company partnership and had the best property management in Dallas. The landlord had the resources and a new custom section of the electrical system was manufactured by Square D in the afternoon and flown to Dallas for delivery in the morning.
Within a period of less than twenty four hours San Jacinto Tower was electrified and everything was back to normal. If the landlord was scraping by to make ends meet this could have been a completely different outcome.
Tied to this story were the building engineers and security staff. The chief engineer was a fantastic man by the name of Clyde Vaughan and the chief of security was Davey Currier. Because of years of training and procedure that had been practiced by their team they were prepared. They hadn’t trained for a power failure of the magnitude we experienced but they knew how to function as a team.
When tenants were traversing dark stairwells security and maintenance sprang into action to assist. Everyone evacuated the tower without an incident while emergency crews were being escorted at the same time. A well trained security and maintenance staff is a definite benefit that you will have in an A class office tower.
- Located in an excellent neighborhood
- Health Facility on property
- Deli On Property
- Quality Lobby Furniture and Art
- Good Neighbors
- Easy access to roadways
Sometimes amenities are obvious like health facilities, neighborhood, access, food facilities but I want to talk about neighbors. Class A office towers tend to have credit standards that will not allow certain types of uses that may be accepted in other buildings. This may not appear to be an issue but I had a new client that experienced a first hand nightmare that gave me an opportunity to help them and it was directly related to this matter.
They occupied a B class office building in Dallas that was purchased for a low price when the 2008 recession hit. The new landlord had a policy that they would take short term leases and they had very low credit standards for new tenants. My client was a law firm that represented people that needed various types of financial matters resolved and their customers visited their office frequently.
Because of the new landlords lower standards a call center was allowed to move in next door. Now I have seen some nice call centers but this one was a real sweat shop. They put their people into 3×3 cubicles and the entire call center was packed. Needless to say the noise was intolerable and the traffic of the employees leaving the space to take smoking breaks was none stop. The elevators were in constant use with people leaving and going to the space.
Obviously my clients customers were experiencing this hectic environment and they were not very please. The unprofessional atmosphere effected my clients business in a negative way. Having an A class building also has the added benefit of having neighbors that must fit the higher standards of the landlord.
It is very prudent for an office tenant to consider the reasons that a particular building has an A class rating. Then determine if the higher rental rate is worth the significant advantages that a true class A office building offers.