Agora Architecture


Buying a Great Building for your Business

The Edge Performing Arts Centre - 721 Main Street, Winfield

The Edge Performing Arts Centre - 721 Main Street, Winfield

     What constitutes a great building for your business needs? This question can have several answers depending on the functions of your business. When contemplating an answer to this question, consider the saying, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.” If you want specific information regarding a building and the specific function of your business, come talk to us. We will provide you with the information you need to find the best available building.

     That being said, there are certain needs constant to the use of a building. This is due to the fact that while the building owner may have personal changes to the building, the basic functionality of a commercial building is the same. A key guarantor of success when choosing a building, is bringing your Architect in from the beginning. When an Architect modifies an existing building, work must be done to conform to different function requirements than perhaps what the building was originally built for. This is why we recommend a potential owner include an architect in reviewing a building before purchasing it. Some buildings can be difficult or expensive to modify and at times impossible on the given budget, while others are a perfect fit.

The Edge Performing Arts Centre - Before and After of the Ballet Studio

The Edge Performing Arts Centre - Before and After of the Ballet Studio

Allow us to help you understand the basics of purchasing a “great” building.

1.      In the most basic terms: A great building is appealing to the eye, functions for its intended purpose, and remains structurally sound.

2.      When looking for a building to purchase, understand that any existing building is going to have some limiting factors. An existing building that is not properly reviewed for feasibility of function before purchasing can become more expensive to modify than a budget will allow.

3.      Keeping the former principal in mind, it is imperative that you are purchasing an existing building at a reasonable price. The reason for this seems obvious, but we would encourage detailed budgeting in the area. If you purchase an existing building and don’t take into consideration the renovations, code and ADA compliance updates, as well as unforeseen costs if you didn’t consult an Architect, your budget can easily be inadequate. We are all too familiar with clients buying a building and contacting us after closing day to get started. Then, we take a look at the building that was purchased and now there are $250,000.00 worth of repairs and renovations needing to be made. The client either settles for a lesser functional building and a blown budget, or they abandon the building and move to a smaller scale business model. We want to help businesses to not make this mistake.

4.      The age and use of a building must be taken into consideration. A building is not disqualified as a building for its age or former use, but it is something to consider because of codes and ADA. The building may have, and often does, have numerous code and ADA modifications in addition to functionality modifications.

5.      A building’s desirability is also something to consider. This might involve the materials used in construction, floor levels, location in relation to infrastructure, age, and its condition.

6.      The importance of the exterior design varies due to the type of use that is planned or the owner’s desires. Exterior modification can get very expensive, so this is something to keep in mind if the exterior is really important to you and your budget is limited.

7.      Multi-floor buildings will most likely need an elevator, which may not be included in an existing building or if it is, it may no longer be functional. The same principal may occur with any existing stairways - these must meet code.

8.      If there is thought of expanding on an existing building, it is highly important to have a feasibility study done before purchasing to verify that an addition can be done.

9.      A great building is one that can function well, and also be appealing to the future buyers. The building owner must balance between the buildings functioning for his needs but not being so one function specific that future buyers will not see potential for their needs. That is sometimes difficult to do, but a designer can aid you.  

The Edge Performing Arts Centre

The Edge Performing Arts Centre

Additional Tips:

·         Another set of eyes is always good- someone who desires to see you succeed but can also see with unbiased eyes. Of course, your Architect will be one form of this resource.

·         As mentioned above, but it cannot be said enough, we highly suggest a design professional to be hired before purchasing a building. The architect can typically visualize potential modifications and needs with more accuracy than the average citizen. Paying an architect to be involved before you buy could save you thousands in modifications and the updates your local government may require.  

It comes down to this: Planning is vital to a successful building renovation. It is to your benefit to not skimp on the upfront planning.  

**The Edge Performing Arts Centre is our mid-month project spotlight. They renovated an old, dilapidated store front on Main Street and they had great success doing it. This projects beauty can be attributed to the hard working owners, Neil and Leslie Felts. Kudos to them because they reached out to us BEFORE they bought the building. All we had to do was get them started with a code footprint and some design, and they took off working hard and transforming this old storefront into a t-shirt printing shop and dance studio. Make sure to stop by - buy a t-shirt, or some custom pearl jewelry!