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How to Know Your Class A Buildings from Your Class C Buildings [2019 Edition]

April 3, 2018 | by Nell Lanman

Without fully knowing what Class A buildings are, you can quickly ascertain that they’re the best in breed commercial buildings can offer.

Building classifications in most markets denote what kind of condition a commercial property is in.

Conventionally, the better the “grade” or classification, the more desirable the property, but as we’ll see, desirability is largely defined by your own business’s needs.

Let’s review the basics.

Class A Buildings – The Cream of the Crop

Typically, Class A buildings are the newest, most modern high-rises on the market, with a full slate of amenities and state of the art systems.

In metropolitan areas, Class A buildings tend to offer large scale commercial spaces in the most desirable neighborhoods. That means they command top rental rates, too.

As a result, the commercial tenants competing for Class A space tend to be well-established, category leaders in their industry. Large financial institutions, ad agencies, law firms and tech giants usually compete for Class A spaces. Here’s why:

  • They have on-site building management and security
  • Attended lobbies
  • Fancy HVAC systems
  • Fast, reliable Wi-Fi
  • Covered parking
  • Other premier tenants in the building
  • They’re aesthetically pleasing to the eye

Class A property is built to impress. If you’re an industry leaders or otherwise work in a business where prestige is valuable currency, leasing office space in a Class A building makes quite the statement.

Class B Buildings – Comfortable, Elegant Space

Don’t let the grade fool you: some Class B buildings enjoyed Class A status in their heyday – they’re just slightly older now, with visible signs of age. If you’re looking for elegant, functional space without the “wow” factor of Class A properties, Class B buildings are a sensible option.

What you sacrifice in amenities, like 24/7 security or a bank of elevators, you can make up in price without having to sacrifice on location, accessibility and overall functionality. Class B properties with established tenant history have great capacity for tenant improvements to the space as well.

In reality, Class B buildings suit most businesses looking for comfortable, functional space that makes an impression on clients and recruits without breaking the bank.

Class C Buildings – Functional, No-Frills Space

Class C buildings offer functional space with old or rough finishes and some basic amenities at a fraction of Class A or Class B costs. But you definitely get what you pay for (like a patch of hallway for a “lobby” or a glacially slow elevator).

 

Class C office space

A design hack here or there can transform Class C space into a perfectly functional, quirky office. Photo courtesy Jonathan Chen via Flickr.

 

If you’re a small business on the prowl for enough room to fit a few desks and a coffee pot, you can find affordable office space in a Class C building without embarrassment. And you can often make tenant improvements to make the space even more functional.

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