For reasons that can be very different, there are some significant benefits to high ceilings in commercial real estate buildings. For the purpose of this article I am going to focus specifically on office and industrial commercial real estate.
Higher initial capital and operating costs
To balance this discussion we need to first acknowledge that it costs more per square foot to construct a building with higher than typical side wall height. That increased cost will vary depending upon the construction material and building design.
Because of the increased cubic volume of air, the utility cost to heat/cool the premises will also be greater, especially in our prairie climate with extreme fluctuations in seasonal temperatures.
Impact on office space
A recent article in “Psychology Today” states research shows we are more creative in spaces with higher ceilings. Employees are more innovative in places with 10’ ceilings when compared with (all other things being equal) people occupying space with 8’ ceilings.
Interesting to note however that if the ceilings are too high it can negatively impact our state of being. Think about it for a moment and picture yourself sitting in a low ceiling office; then visualize working in an office with a 12’ ceiling.
Impact on industrial warehouse
A recent analysis from “Greystone Managed Properties” reported that industrial properties with ceiling heights greater than 26’ had an availability rate of only 1% and net rental rates that exceeded the Toronto average by 6.5%.
These properties cater to logistics and distribution oriented tenants. These companies that have the ability to stack goods and utilize high ceilings can afford to pay more net rent because of increased efficiency and lower overall operating costs.
We will see a trend toward increased ceiling height in both of these sectors in our Saskatchewan commercial real estate market in coming years. Do you have any experiences to share regarding how the factors discussed here have impacted your business decisions?
Posted by Barry Stuart