How Building Certifications May Attract Potential Tenants
When attracting and retaining tenants, your property must stand out from the crowd. A good way to show that your building is worth consideration is with an official industry certification. There are many certifications available for properties and commercial buildings, and they all can contribute perceived value to your site. Five certifications in particular that we have seen carry a lot of weight and turn a lot of heads include LEED, WiredScore, WalkScore, The BOMA 360 Program, and The Outstanding Building of the Year Award. Here, we take a closer look at the benefits of each certification, and how these titles could make a difference in a tenant’s ultimate decision.
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Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED certification)
LEED certification provides independent verification of a building or neighborhood’s green features. It takes into consideration design, construction, operations, and maintenance of resource-efficient, high-performing, healthy, cost-effective buildings.
LEED has become the most widely used green building rating system in the world. It currently certifies 1.85 million square feet of construction space every day.
A LEED-certified building is measured according to nine key points:
- Integrative process
- Location and transportation
- Sustainable sites
- Water efficiency
- Energy and atmosphere
- Materials and resources
- Indoor environmental quality
- Regional priority
Based on the number of points totaled, a building may earn one of four designations:
According to its site:
- 61 percent of corporate leaders believe that sustainability leads to market differentiation and improved financial performance.
- Lease-up rates for green buildings typically range from average to 20 percent above average.
- A recent study of the San Diego market shows that the overall vacancy rate for green buildings is 4 percent lower than for non-green properties. That’s 11.7 percent, compared to 15.7 percent.
WiredScore certification rates commercial real estate property for the strength of its digital infrastructure. It is meant to help landlords and property managers to understand, improve, and promote their buildings.
According to the site, “good” Internet is among the top three most important factors for tenants who are searching for office space (the other two: cost and, of course, location). A WiredScore rating provides transparency and easy-to-understand information for prospective tenants. Saying that your property features strong Internet connectivity can now be proven with an official score.
So far, more than 1,800 properties are registered for the Wired Certification program. That’s 500 million square feet of office space in over 160 cities, including New York, London, Toronto, Paris, and Berlin.
The site features a downloadable report — The Value of Connectivity — that finds that commercial tenants will pay more for an office with superior connectivity. Drilling down further:
- 75 percent of tenants state that poor connectivity impacts company profitability.
- 72 percent of leasing decision-makers feel it is extremely critical to have a reliable Internet connection in their office space to conduct company business.
- 84 percent of tenants would pay more per square foot for their space if any owner could prove a building has reliable connectivity.
This site ranks neighborhoods deemed to be “the most walkable,” which is a huge asset to an area’s marketability. Qualities considered include those that best contribute to an area’s economy, citizens’ health, and the overall environment.
Over 20 million scores are listed every day; 30,000 sites use Walk Score services, including the major real estate platform Redfin. An area’s Walk Score is determined by an advisory board that includes professionals well versed in urban planning, environmental studies, and technology.
As a property manager, you can add your area’s Walk Score right to your website by simply signing up (it’s free). Get your local HTML code and paste it to your site (also free).
Also available are scores for biking and public transit. A high score will earn a “Walkers’ Paradise” title; a “Riders’ Paradise” label is given to any area featuring world-class transportation.
How valuable is Walk Score in attracting tenants and businesses to your location? Read a few of these testimonials:
- “A 10 point increase in Walk Score increases commercial property values by 5-8%.” – Gary Pivo, Professor, University of Arizona
- “Walk Score increases renter engagement on our site.” – Michael D’Alba, Director of Business Development, ForRent.com
- “Commute time and places to walk are 2 of the top 3 most important community characteristics.” – National Association of Realtors
- “Within walking distance of public transit we’re seeing a 40 to 200% price premium.”- Christopher Leinberger, Brookings Institution
- “Each point of Walk Score is worth up to $3,000 in a typical metro area.” – Joe Cortright, CEOs for Cities
- “Homes save more energy from location efficiency than from building efficiency.” – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Buildings in the commercial real estate industry deemed as outperforming their competition in areas of operations and management can apply for and earn the BOMA 360 label. This distinguished performance program internationally sets the standard level when it comes to operational best practices in the industry. The building certification receives its name due to the 360-degree, all-encompassing evaluation of a building’s practices, unlike other certifications that focus more on specific items. This criterion includes:
- Building operations and management
- Life safety, security, and risk management (Download our guide: Specializing Life Safety & Security for Your Property)
- Training and education
- Tenant/occupant relations and community involvement
Building owners can apply for the BOMA 360 certification here.
TOBY awards recognize quality in commercial buildings and excellence in building management. Every aspect of a building’s operations are evaluated, from tenant relations to community involvement and site management. Also considered are environmental and “green” policies and procedures.
The competition is divided into three stages: local, regional, and international. The international TOBY Awards are presented at the BOMA International Conference every June.
Some eligibility requirements include:
- Your building must already be a BOMA member in good standing.
- All buildings must have at least 50 percent of its space used for office, with the exception of industrial, mixed-use, public assembly and retail.
- Each building may be entered in only one category.
Kings III is always proud to recognize our customers that receive a TOBY award. We’re happy to say that since we work with such outstanding properties and management companies, it happens quite frequently. (Shout out to our most recent customers to receive the award in 2020- MB Real Estate Services Inc.-managed building 1 North Dearborn won in the Renovated Building category and Cushman & Wakefield-managed building Las Cimas II & III won in the Suburban Office Park Low-Rise Category!)
Another can’t miss feature to attract potential tenants: a high-quality emergency communications system.
Offering your tenants a dedicated operator who can send immediate help to the right place in the event of an emergency is like being certified gold. A Kings III Emergency Communications system is user-friendly and staffed by highly trained and certified professionals. The system is placed where you need it most: in hallways, elevators, stairs, on your campus, and other vulnerable areas that will always give your tenants peace of mind.
Because our system is dedicated, you don’t ever have to tangle with smartphones and their undependable signals. Our staff already knows where you are when you call, so they can send help to the exact right place. If a tenant needs medical instruction, our operators can provide it.
Kings III offers all-inclusive services that come with code-compliant emergency telephone equipment, including installation, maintenance, and 24/7/365 monitoring and dispatch services.
Get in touch to find out more about how a Kings III Emergency Communications system can be a tremendous addition to your building.
Kings III was honored to be recognized by its employees and The Dallas Morning News by making the daily newspaper’s Top 100 Places to Work list, falling in at 17th in the midsize companies category, jumping from its 26th standing in the previous year.
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