Despite all the efforts and imagination that residential developers have shown lately, the residential market remains frozen. There are two main reasons: restrictive lending conditions and people’s perception that prices will continue to fall.
In this context, some of the residential developers, especially those of small and medium-sized complexes, which had central locations, converted their buildings into office spaces, especially for SMEs, most of which were for rent. It can be an exciting solution in the current market conditions, in which the office rental market, especially that of SMEs, is looking for small space solutions. However, several conditions must be considered for such a transition between residence and offices: location spaces not to be partitioned as apartments, partial finishing of spaces, attractive price, reasonable administration costs, flexibility, says Irina Petrescu, ESOP partner.
The location remains the central element; to be attractive for the headquarters of a company, it must be accessible both from the point of view of the connection to the means of public transport and of the connections with the points of interest in the city;
- developers who have not yet reached the partitioning of spaces, it is better not to do it, leaving them as open as possible; it is known that open space can be much more easily adapted to the requirements of a company; besides, there is no risk of losing spaces with too large annexes in the case of companies (bathrooms/kitchens, dressing rooms, etc.);
- it is good to leave the spaces partially finished (painted only), to be able to adapt much more easily to the clients’ requirements;
- another important aspect, which many do not know is that if the construction permits are for a residential building, the spaces must be re-authorized with a double destination: residence/offices; otherwise, some companies will not be able to operate;
- the price must be correlated with the location, finishes, and facilities offered by the space and take into account the differences between office buildings dedicated and built for offices, an attractive rental price for such buildings: 10-15 EUR / sqm. – an element often neglected is the administration of the building.
“Even if the owner or another company makes the administration, it must ensure the comfort of the tenants in the building and reasonable prices,” says Irina Petrescu, ESOP partner. Flexibility is still the watchword; developers who intend to convert their spaces will have to take into account the competition to attract customers.
“We believe that converting residential spaces into offices can be an interesting option for many homeowners, provided they take into account the profile of the customer who rents an office and the new realities of the office market.”, Says Irina Petrescu partner ESOP.