Pros & Cons of Renovating an Existing Building

In our last newsletter, we looked at the pros and cons of taking on a project to build brand new from the ground up. Another option, of course, is to find an existing building and renovate it to suit your needs. Like any major project, there are pros and cons to renovating as well.

Advantages of Renovating an Existing Building

Character. Existing structures in your city have history and character that take time to build. Locating your company in a recognizable or historic building speaks volumes about your brand and values.

A Head Start. An existing structure already has a foundation, utilities, windows, exterior support and a roof (among other things). Now, these may need to be updated or replaced, but they exist, and if they’re in good shape, they can shorten the timeline for your build considerably.

Financial Benefits. Most cities have funds available to businesses that renovate or update existing properties. There may also be property tax breaks or additional incentives from state or local governments to transform an older building into your vision for your company.

Location. If you’re looking to move your business to a densely populated area of the city, renovating an existing building is sometimes the only option. Space for brand new builds can be far outside the city center and may not work as well depending on your needs.

Disadvantages of Renovating an Existing Building

Surprises. Old buildings come with surprises. It’s just a fact we all deal with when renovating an existing space. There may be utilities that aren’t sufficient for your new use or not up to today’s building codes. You may also have to make adjustments for accessibility or environmental needs. Sometimes surprises are minimal, but every renovation has them.

Constraints. While constraints with how a space is configured can be a fun challenge, it can also be frustrating or expensive. This is especially true if you’re looking for a large open space in a building with support pillars or several load bearing walls. Finding the right existing building for your use can be a challenge.

Style. Because you’re adapting an existing building, it will have its own style and design. A lot can be done with the interior (and even the exterior), but ultimately, you’re adopting many of the characteristics of the building you choose, so you want to take time to ensure they fit your style and needs.