Managing shifts in spacial demand

Options for tenants and business experiencing a shift in spatial demand

Tenants should allow 18 - 24 months for the process of securing a new purpose-built facility and running a market process, so considering this timeframe within your plans to move out prior to your lease expiry is important.

1. Design and negotiate with expansion in mind

For businesses who have outgrown their previous facility and are still projecting strong growth, having the ability to call on expansion space when needed proves beneficial. Often developers will use a partial pre-commitment to speculatively build the balance of the facility, as it’s cheaper to build a facility all at once.

This option can provide a good opportunity to negotiate with the developer on one of the following;

A first and/or last right of refusal over the expansion space or;
A rent-free period over the expansion space until a predetermined future date after which you will commence paying rent
Similarly, if the developer doesn’t build the facility at once, the tenant may be able to negotiate a ‘land rent’ over the expansion land allowing the tenant to commence construction on the expansion space when it is required. A good example of this was the staged delivery of GMK Logistics new facility at Smeaton Grange with Vaughan Constructions. (Click here).

2. Sublease existing premises and source a new facility to meet your growing demands

Tenants who don’t want to stay with their current landlord will most likely need to consider a sublease of their existing premises. This means running a market process for a new facility (either purpose-built or existing) that will drive competition and create opportunity to negotiate a more favourable deal than the existing premise. In particular, Sydney and Brisbane currently offer tenants very attractive prelease opportunities as developers compete to develop out their estates and grow funds under management.

In our experience, tenants and occupiers should allow 3-6 months to backfill their current facility; however, some lease agreements will require the Head-Lessee to maintain their bank guarantee to sub-lease, so be sure to seek expert advice when undertaking any sub lease negotiations.


3. For tenants with too much space, consider subleasing space

Tenants who find themselves with excess space have limited options, but subleasing space is a certain way to reduce exposure. With vacancy levels at an all-time low and the continual shift in businesses spatial demand, we have witnessed a growing demand for flexible short-term leasing opportunities over the past 18 months. Seasonal businesses such as Chrisco Hampers or Fresh produce growers always require flexible leasing opportunities and in today’s tightly held market, these types of businesses are often ‘price takers’ as they have limited options to get them through the peak season.

Unforeseen business disruptions also provide an opportunity to sub-lease space. Perhaps the best example of this was during the 2011 Brisbane floods where there was a run of short-term lease activity to help businesses get back on their feet. A more recent example is the ‘strawberries needle contamination’ saga, where we have recently secured short-term accommodation for an affected business who is now required to x-ray and double check all outbound inventory.    


4. Consider a short-term option to ride out the lease

Whilst limited, there are still short-term options available. These can be difficult to find but anomalies in certain markets can create short-term opportunities.
Take Sydney for example, the rezoning of industrial land for high-rise apartment living (i.e. Homebush, Rhodes, Rydalmere) has seen key industrial sites being purchased for redevelopment. However, with the cooling residential market many of these projects have been shelved until the next cycle (typically 7-8 years) resulting in short-term leasing opportunities. Be mindful however, as the level of service from these landlords can be inferior in terms of general maintenance and the facilities overall presentation.

If your business foresees a shift in spatial demand before the end of your lease term or you’re considering a new purpose-built facility, now is a great time to assess your future spatial needs as many parts of Australia (particularly along the east coast) are experiencing tenant favourable conditions.

As the industrial market has become far more sophisticated, using an industrial occupier advisor to represent your best interests in the market will prove invaluable. If you would like to discuss any of the above options in more detail, feel free to get in touch with me via the contact details below:

Nick.greenwell@colliers.com // +61 421 948 800 

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Nick Greenwell

National Director | Industrial Advisory | Occupier Services

Sydney West

With over 16 years’ experience in the industrial property sector, Nick has a  breadth of experience across all aspects of the sector from tenant advisory, development management (land subdivisions & built-form) , acquisitions and asset management. 

Nick worked within Colliers Industrial agency team from 2002 -2006, before leaving to move into a Development Management role externally; he then re-joined Colliers in 2018 to lead the NSW Industrial Occupier Services business.

Nick works closely with businesses requiring industrial space to source and secure the most suitable site and facility for their organisational needs. He has a strong understanding of the  industrial market nationally and a solid background in design and construct projects meaning he can provide advice to occupiers/tenants for Stay V’s Go Analysis’, lease renewals, new site acquisitions and pre-lease commitments. 

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