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Attention getters: in today's tough leasing market, distinguishing yourself from the competition is critical. (Speak Easy).

Leasing is tough, and it may get tougher before it gets better. Office markets across the country are languishing. Buildings are victims of high-tech fallout, corporate downsizing and uncertain economic times, which are stifling expansion and new development.

With an increase in available space, competition is fierce for the few tenants our in the marketplace. Tenants have more spaces to choose from. Instead of the usual three or four suites to look at, tenants now have eight to ten available spaces to view.

What is the key to making your property stand our from the pack? How do you get the attention of prospective tenants in this very competitive market? Here are some answers:

* Curb Appeal--Potential tenants first impression occurs when they drive by your property. The basic look and feel of your property could make or break a tenant's final decision to lease your space. Simple touches such as adding flowers, lawn and lush landscape in highly visible areas and maintaining the neat and clean appearance of the complex increase the appeal of the property. Consider removing trees or bushes to increase the visibility of a property. Investigate adding monument siguage to identify the property and give exposure to large tenants. On a regular basis, seal and re-stripe the asphalt parking lot and driveways.

* Amenities--Some buildings offer standard amenities such as an on-site deli/coffee cart, workout room, car detailer, covered parking, exterior courtyard, operable windows and a common conference room facility. Now is the time to think outside the box when it comes to creative amenities. Some unique amenities to consider include a golf putting green (artificial turf), indoor handball court, outside sand volleyball court, hiking/jogging trail around the exterior of a property, exterior artwork or sculpture and a large lobby aquarium.

* Seek Constructive Criticism--No one likes criticism, but it is a necessary evil in helping you lease your vacant spaces. Invite your listing broker, architect or space planner, existing tenants or vendors to give you suggestions on the appearance and maintenance of the project. They may have interesting ideas you might not have considered.

* Check Out Your Competition--Pretend to be a tenant and visit your competition. Better yet, have your listing broker rake you around to buildings in your market area and have him/her show you spaces as if you were a potential tenant. You will be able to see what prospective tenants see. In addition to looking at the vacant suites, check out the lobbies, ride the elevators, walk the stairwells and look in the bathrooms. You may get some great ideas viewing other buildings.

* Build-Out Spec Suites--This might be a tough sell to your boss or owner, but many properties have been very successful in building out tenant-ready spaces. Consider basic space plans with neutral colors.

Staying on the cutting edge is becoming increasingly difficult. It takes more than just a well-located, well-maintained building to attract attention. Having good curb appeal, great amenities and tenant-ready spec suites available could increase the likelihood of getting on a tenant's short list and making a deal. Seeking constructive criticism and checking out your competition may give you great ideas on how to make your property stand out and shine. It may be that little something extra needed to distinguish your property from the rest of the pack.

Nancy Eagle, CPM[R] ( manages office properties in San Diego County for RREEF Management and serves as Director of Public Relations on the IREM[R] San Diego Chapter No. 18 Executive Council.
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Title Annotation:making properties appealing
Author:Eagle, Nancy
Publication:Journal of Property Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2003
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