Too Many Choices

I was recently in the new Village ShopRite of Greater Morristown, N.J., picking up a few things. Since it was lunchtime, I browsed the prepared foods section, which they call the "Village Food Garden." It’s roughly 15,000 square feet and features at least a dozen different stations, all with freshly prepared meals. The number of choices seemed endless.

In 1992, Bruce Springsteen included a song called 57 Channels (And Nothing On) on his Human Touch album. Today, we have hundreds of channels, as well as the ability to binge watch shows on demand, stream movies, and watch older shows on services like Netflix.  We have more choices than ever and there is ALWAYS something on.

With respect to music, I remember the glove compartment of my first car being filled with cassette tapes. Then it was CD’s. Now, I keep my old iPhone in my car, which gives me about 7,000 songs at my finger tips, not to mention the ability to download at will or stream through services like Pandora, iTunes Radio or Amazon Music.

Yet, with all of these choices, I sometimes feel overwhelmed. I don’t know what to choose, because it’s all so appealing and other times, it all just feels the same.

The process of finding new office space can feel the same way. Many of the buildings feel the same as landlords compete for tenants. If one landlord upgrades their lobby or adds amenities, others in the market will likely follow. 

And, once a tenant has identified a building, choosing how the space will look can be an overwhelming process for small or mid-sized companies that only move once every 5 – 10 years, if not less frequently. We recently represented a company that had been in the same space for over 15 years before deciding to relocate.

While there are many things a landlord can do to stand out, there’s one tactic that has proven very successful for one client recently.

Take away all of the choices.

We have embarked on “pre-built” office concept and the results have been great. For all smaller units, we developed a plan and standard finishes and told the tenants that this is what they would receive when they moved in. They didn’t have to choose anything. In most cases, we leased the space before we started construction, primarily because the tenants knew what they were getting and knew they didn’t have to pay for the build out.

Some of the spaces in this building had been vacant for several years. While it may be a function of the market, I think that the landlord’s commitment to build out the space and provide the tenant with an easy, turnkey solution was the driving force behind a flurry of recent deals in the building. To paraphrase my favorite movie, if you build it, they will come.