Class A Office Building

In the commercial office brokerage business we classify buildings in three different classes A, B and C. Today I thought that I would review what I think the qualifications are for an office building to be characterized as a class A office building.

Often a landlord will advertise their building as an A Class building but in fact it isn’t these are the major amenities that and A Class office building has:

Mechanical Systems

Often overlooked by the unsophisticated but the type of building mechanical systems have a direct impact upon the quality of the office building. An office broker with good qualifications will help you avoid making mistakes. Some of the major components are:

  • Elevators
  • HVAC Systems
  • Lighting
  • Emergency Power Generation/Redundancy
  • Hours of Operation
  • After Hours Access Systems

Class A Office BuildingTop tear office buildings have elevator systems that are smart. A computer tracks the times of day that a building has the most traffic and where it is located and knows to have an elevator waiting on that floor so the tenants don’t have to wait. Likewise quality buildings have additional fav V boxes and thermostats to proved more precise control of the temperature and space comfort. Lighting usually is energy efficient but produce more than enough luminous to have ample lighting to avoid eye stain.

An area that is often overlooked but can be critical if there is a power outage is back up electricity generation. An A Class office building has backup power to provide electricity for the elevators and emergency lighting. Some buildings are actually located where there is both redundancy in electricity and data communications. This way if power or data goes out on one line it can be switch to the other hopefully helping the tenants to avoid a long term outage and interruption of their work.

Buildings with lower rental rates typically have smaller operating budgets and they may start the building systems a little later and terminate them sooner. This could be a problem for comfort in the winter or summer. Obviously the after hours access systems are also important. It would be very frustrating to be standing outside your building and not being able to gain access because there was a low grade system in operation.

Structural

  • Architect
  • Highest Quality Materials
  • Superior Appearance
  • Functional Obsolescence
  • Parking Facilities

The structural integrity of any office building is usually sound. However it is what is connected to the structure that separates A Class office building features from others. This usually starts with the architect. Traditionally most true Class A office buildings have a highly respected architect design the building. The architect will make specifications for the highest quality stone, wood, wall covering, curtain walls and other features of the building. I have been involved with buildings where the wood used in the elevators was not only specified but the tree was selected as well. The same can be said for stone selection. The goal of this scrutiny is to have a superior appearance for the office building on the exterior and interior.

Newer buildings will not suffer from functional obsolescence but older A Class office buildings may. Depending upon the historical significance of the building there may not be a way to remove the older features and modernize the building. For example the Empire State Building is a classic office tower. It would be crazy to attempt to modernize its appearance to remove functional obsolescence.

Lastly, for this post, I want to discuss parking. This is an area that sometimes isn’t given a lot of consideration but has to be endured during the tenancy. Most Class A buildings will have well lighted parking garages that have good spacing between cars and are kept clean. Typically they have direct access to the office building and are connected so the tenant does not walk out into the elements.

I will continue this post with a new one later where I will discuss other aspects of Class A office buildings and talk about building management and amenities.

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