Added features to consider prior to commercial tenant construction

Added features to consider prior to commercial tenant construction

Construction DesignWorks makes white box construction appealing

By Scott Hamele, DBIA President and founder of Construction DesignWorks, LLC and Nationwide Commercial Inspections, LLC

I have attempted over the years to better define a vague term in commercial real estate – white box construction. This term is widely used to outline what the landlord’s deliverables will be to the tenant prior to the commercial tenant construction. I previously authored an article that sets forth a clear definition and scope of work that includes everything from the minimum sizing requirements of the HVAC system to the existence of ADA restrooms.

Lease rates and terms are based on a cloudy understanding of the landlord’s deliverables and thus these rates and terms are typically based on inaccurate information. By following the scope of work detailed in my prior article, all parties will fully understand exactly what the landlord is to deliver to the tenant, and the lease terms will be based on hard facts and precise numbers. The owner should consider a few options to produce a more inviting and attractive space to potential tenants prior to commercial tenant construction.

Additional options in white box construction to attract tenants


While the final color choice should be up to the future tenant, a crisp coat of white paint would make the space look clean and move-in ready. This should even speed up the leasing process by making it look more attractive. Most walls can receive a coat of latex primer white for as little as 50 cents per square foot of coverage area, making it a very affordable option to consider.


The decision of what to do with the ceiling can be a tough one and is ultimately up to the tenant. However, considering the surrounding spaces and building, one might conclude an open (naked) ceiling is the proper path most anyone would take. A coat of dry-fall paint would greatly enhance the look of the space and again furthering it to be move-in ready. I always suggest a light grey because it hides dirt well and makes the space look higher. For $1.25 to $1.50 per square foot, a ceiling can be painted. Additional costs will apply for extra items such as structural elements and HVAC duct work.


Not knowing what type of ceiling will be finally selected will affect the types of light fixtures for the space. Even a combination of open ceiling and clouds will affect the types of lighting chosen. However, a nice cable suspended linear LED light fixture with lens, can be safely selected in both an open ceiling or hung from an acoustical ceiling or cloud. On average, I select a four-foot length, color temperature of 3000K to 3500K capable of dimming. These types of light fixtures will display a level of completion of the space and sophistication.

Considering any one of these additional features to a white box construction finish will greatly augment the look and appeal of the space. The profitability of an investment property is based on time and money. Adding these features should cut down on the commercial tenant construction needed to lease your space which will put additional money in your pocket.

About Construction DesignWorks, LLC

Construction DesignWorks uses its hands-on approach and design and construction expertise to create and develop a winning design-build team that is specialized for each customer. Their complete turnkey building solutions align with the unique business needs of various types of real estate. Construction DesignWorks, LLC is located at 6657 Woodland Drive in Shawnee, Kansas. If you are looking for a construction services company or for more information about interior design-build, call (913) 745-4727 or visit their website


View original article on commercial tenant construction here.

Tags: commercial tenant improvements

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