Moving? Terry Mostrom, executive managing director at commercial real estate brokerage company Studley, Inc., shares some behind-the-scenes advice on picking the right location for your association.
Associations Now: What should an association consider first when looking for office space?
Mostrom: Before looking out for what you need, we recommend looking in, which means taking a hard look at how you're using your space today—really peeling the onion on that to determine if the way you're operating today is a good way to be operating.
The other aspect of that is trying to project into the future. Ask yourself about any changes you can foresee, and take that into consideration as you define what you really need.
OK, what about choosing a location?
Many associations today exist where they are for a reason. However, it may not necessarily be the best location for them for the future.
A trend that goes beyond associations, but one that affects them, is the ability to attract and retain the types of employees they want. So we're seeing things like more associations wanting to have access to public transportation or a closer proximity to that employee base. This might mean a more urban location in some markets.
What consideration should go into choosing the building itself?
I think you start with what's the image of the building. Certainly you want a presentable building, a building that has an image that the association feels is consistent with or supports its own image.
You may find that an association won't go into some buildings because they are not nice enough. Maybe it's a class C office building that doesn't reflect well. Alternatively, sometimes an association won't choose to go into a class A+ building because it looks ostentatious.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Location, Location, Location."]