Flex space is one of the fastest-growing types of industrial real estate. Entrepreneurial companies need to stay agile in their real estate commitments and landlords need a profitable response to the trend toward shorter leases. Enter the flex space movement.
Small, fast growing businesses can share space or co-locate office functions with manufacturing and warehousing, giving teams enhanced communication along with easily reconfigurable space that evolves with their needs. Landlords can enjoy a premium over leasing plain warehouse space for flex space that is in growing demand.
When contemplating what is flex space, consider two options:
1. Flex Space beyond Co-Working
Some flex space is built around the co-working model. Suites that can vary in size and configuration are built around share conference rooms, kitchens, quiet rooms and rest rooms. Unlike co-working spaces, flex spaces allows growing companies to create their own office cultures that are not branded with the co-working brand. Companies can add to their suites as their business grows. These flex spaces tend to be in urban centers in office towers.
2. Flex Space as Co-Located Functions
Industrial and warehouse spaces are a different kind of flex space altogether. Warehouses create an opportunity for another kind of flex space. With these options, it is not about sharing office space with other small businesses, but dividing space into different functions. In this case, you rent the whole space, but divide it into offices, manufacturing space, showroom, warehouse, and distribution facilities. These spaces can be reconfigured to adjust to seasonal and changing needs.
Warehouses as Flex Space
Warehouses have high-ceilings and open space unencumbered by weight-bearing walls. They often feature large truck doors to accommodate incoming and outgoing product. Older warehouses are located in and around urban areas. Newer spaces are typically in exurbs and are close to air, rail, and freeway transportation options. Both offer advantages to entrepreneurs, depending on the nature and needs of your business.
Flex Space Advantages
One advantage of flex space is that companies can pay warehouse lease rates, paying less per square foot than typical office space. You can often configure such places in ways that are customized to your needs and the personality of your firm at relatively low cost.
Zoning and building permits are sometimes more relaxed in warehouse facilities than in office towers. The high ceilings and open spaces of a warehouse allow for creativity in design and layout at a much lower cost.
Flex space advantages are more than dollars and cents. By co-locating different functions, companies can be more integrated and nimble. Executives work side-by-side with R&D, manufacturing, warehousing and shipping. Enhanced communication and coordination is a critical benefit for nimble entrepreneurs. You also have the opportunity to create a unique space to enhance your corporate culture and your brand image.
Commercial Flex Space Demand
With so many financial, operational, and growth-supporting advantages, it is no wonder that demand is growing for the chameleon of commercial real estate. What is flex space? It is an attractive alternative that is as attractive to potential tenants as it is as a profitable alternative to landlords.