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Case Study: How Pursuit Merchant Bank got the landlord to build their dream office

July 24, 2017 | by Brandon Carter
Reviewed by real estate expert Jonathan Tootell

The Tenant

logo; pursuit merchant bank


Pursuit Merchant Bank provides transaction and strategic advisory services to companies around the world.

The Challenge: A complex build-out

Standard office space for a financial services company might look something like this: a large conference room positioned right off of the reception area, two or three additional meeting rooms near a wet pantry, an open floor area for workstations, and a few glass-enclosed offices at the periphery.

Pursuit had other ideas. They wanted a professional space befitting their industry, but they also wanted to take cues from creative industries as well.

When their SquareFoot broker found a roomy 5,400sf space in the Flatiron District, Pursuit was ready to pursue an ambitious vision to transform the space. They consulted an architect on sleek ideas like floor-to-ceiling glass walls and private work pods for their plans.

Too sleek, by the landlord’s calculation, and that of his contractor. After reviewing their plans, the landlord decided Pursuit’s vision was not “building standard,” citing both the complexity of the layout and the materials specified as reasons Pursuit was better off doing the work on the space themselves. He offered a tenant improvement allowance to help them manage the cost of the build-out.

The problem was that time was not on Pursuit’s side. They were rapidly approaching their desired occupancy date, and they were worried that by the time they found their own contractor to complete the work, an additional two months would pass.

So: Pursuit needed the landlord to undertake the work on the space, but the landlord was unwilling to take on what he deemed to be an overly complex project.

They were at an impasse.

Or were they?

The Solution: A broker pushing for communication and collaboration

Pursuit’s SquareFoot broker identified communication as one of the barriers standing between Pursuit’s vision and the landlord’s capabilities. He was convinced Pursuit’s plans and the build-outs the landlord was used to completing with his contractor weren’t that different from each other.

He proposed a solution: Let Pursuit’s architect and the landlord’s contractor get in the proverbial room and hatch a solution together. After all, they were the true experts on the capabilities and limitations of the space. He coordinated an introduction.

Pursuit’s architect was better able to explain his client’s needs to the landlord’s contractor. In turn, the contractor had what he needed to come up with “building standard” version of Pursuit’s plans.

With an optimal plan in place, the landlord was happy to complete the work on the office. And Pursuit was able to move in on their desired occupancy date.

The lesson being: a little show and tell can go a long way in ensuring alignment, and ultimately, agreement, between the key parties of a deal.

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