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What to Look For When Renting Office Space in Tampa

Tampa Downtown Crossroad

There’s no better place to launch and grow your business than the Tampa Bay area. When it comes to office space, Tampa, FL offers a wide range of options for all kinds of businesses. From co-working spaces that facilitate collaboration, to dedicated offices that boost productivity, the Big Guava is truly one of the best places to work and do business.

Tampa ranks among the “Top 100 Large Cities to Start a Business” in the United States, according to a 2023 WalletHub study. The rankings are based on the affordability of office space, five-year business survival rate, labor costs, and other key metrics. Business owners who want to increase their chances for long-term success will find plenty of commercial real estate options in the area.

Tampa is a vibrant business hub with prestigious museums, cultural events, and historic neighborhoods. It offers a balance of modernity and history — entrepreneurs who enjoy world-class nightlife, arts, and entertainment will find it in this city. As the ultimate live-work-play destination, Tampa has plenty to offer entrepreneurs in search of suitable office space.

TIPS FOR RENTING OFFICE SPACE IN TAMPA

For anyone new to the market for office space, in Tampa, FL entrepreneurs should ask themselves the following questions before signing a lease:

LOCATION AND ACCESSIBILITY

What’s the ideal location for your business?

Location plays an important role in both business and real estate. Being in a prime business location can help you attract and retain top talent. Many employees accept job offers based on proximity so that the commute is manageable and they’re better able to maintain a work-life balance.

Some employees may also want to live in an exciting city like Tampa, which offers convenient transportation, first-rate amenities, and a variety of lifestyle offerings. The city may appeal to global talent who want to experience the famed Florida lifestyle.

A desirable location can also significantly boost your company’s profile. Having a well-maintained office in Downtown or Midtown Tampa can give your business more credibility. Being in a central location will make it easier for potential clients to find you.

What does the area look like?

Once you start looking into a specific area, consider its accessibility and the kind of amenities available. Look for office buildings with access to major highways, public transit, and sufficient parking space. Offices located near hotels, restaurants, retailers, banks, and service providers are highly appealing to both potential employees and clients.

Which part of Tampa are you interested in?

Tampa is a fantastic city with a robust economy and a diverse population of workers and consumers. If you’re thinking about renting office space in Tampa, FL, some of the most developed areas include Downtown, Uptown, and West Tampa as well as Seminole Heights and the Westshore Business District. Some of the most upscale commercial developments and office buildings in the city are located in these areas.

Tampa, Florida Skyline

SPACE AND LAYOUT

How much space do you need?

When choosing office space, determine how much physical space you’ll need. Square footage will have a huge impact on your rental fees and expenses. Look into various aspects of your business production, storage needs, number of employees, the kinds of events you often organize, and other details. From there, you can determine the kind of layout and amount of square footage that works for you.

What do you need in an office?

Before starting the search, it’s crucial to determine what your company needs and wants out of an office. Not all teams can work effectively from home. If you want to secure office space to boost productivity and to better manage your team, then this will help guide your search and decision-making process. Depending on your long-term goals, you may be able to justify leasing an entire office. You may also look into leasing an entire floor if your company is growing.

It could also be that your company has a hybrid set-up that requires you to have a suitable space for meetings and select days at the office. In this case, you’ll need a more flexible space that won’t be in use most of the time. A co-working space or monthly office rental service should be enough to meet your needs.

INFRASTRUCTURE AND TECHNOLOGY

What office features do you need?

When choosing and designing an office, there are specific features that you will need to ensure safety, productivity, and employee wellness. One of the most important features in office space is lighting, both natural and artificial. Ample lighting can make your office a pleasant place to work and do business.

Proper ventilation and comfortable temperatures are also crucial to office productivity. Employees and guests should remain comfortable, particularly when spending extended periods at the office. Privacy is another important concern. Partitions, cubicles, and meeting rooms will make your office more conducive to confidential discussions.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need to invest in ergonomic furniture, specialized equipment, office supplies, sanitation, and toiletries. These items will help ensure safety and efficiency, enabling employees to do their best work.

What are the terms of the lease?

Have your attorney go over the lease to make sure that the terms are fair and reasonable. The contract should specify which party is responsible for repairs, maintenance, and property taxes. It will also explain how your rent is assessed and whether you are paying rent per square footage.

Depending on your business requirements, you may need to have more flexible terms. What are the fees and penalties for terminating your lease early, and what are your options should you miss a month or two of rental payments?

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

What’s your budget?

Set a budget and make room for extra. Monthly rent is one of the biggest overhead costs that business owners have. As an entrepreneur looking to rent, you will have to factor in rental fees each year. Setting a realistic budget will help protect the financial health of your business.

While it’s wise to not overspend on your first office space, it also helps to anticipate emergency expenses and to pad your budget, especially when looking at prime locations in Tampa. Instead of setting a fixed figure, it would be ideal to set a budget range for the kind of office space you want.

This will give you more flexibility and help expand your options. After all, it’s better to find the right office space for your needs as opposed to finding the cheapest space that may require costly upgrades and improvements.

Fortunately, office space in Tampa, FL is relatively affordable compared to other major cities.
As you search around for office space, be on the lookout for promotions or discounts that can help you maximize your budget.

How much are your overhead costs?

In addition to monthly office rent, make room in your budget for additional items such as surveillance systems, safety alarms, security personnel, and cleaning supplies and services. Set money aside for insurance, permits, and other costs. You will also need to plan your budget for utilities, wifi, phone, and other ongoing expenses. However, ask the property manager if your lease includes some amenities and services.

How soon do you need the space?

Timing is essential to finding suitable office space in Tampa, FL. The timeline of your search will depend on a variety of factors. You may have internal considerations, such as new hires coming in or large pieces of equipment that need to be stored somewhere. There are also external factors, such as fluctuations of office rental fees and the availability of new space.

While trying to figure out if your team really needs an office, it won’t hurt to go on a preliminary search. Browse listings and drive around the city to check out some office buildings and any developments in the pipeline.

In general, it is advisable to devote four to six months to finding the right office space and negotiating the terms of the lease. It also helps to have multiple options available just in case you are unable to secure your first choice. This will make you more confident during negotiations — having a backup plan means that you won’t readily concede to unfavorable terms and agreements.

Is the business climate conducive to growth and innovation?

Forbes ranked Tampa as America’s #1 emerging tech city in 2022 due to new tech migration, top universities, relatively low state taxes and affordable cost of living, and proximity to the airport. The local government has also provided ample support and resources for the tech community and local talent.

AN OVERVIEW OF TAMPA’S BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND ENVIRONMENT

Aerial view of the illuminated Downtown Tampa Skyline in the night

Tampa has bright prospects when it comes to employment, retail, tourism, e-commerce, and planned and existing commercial developments.

Business and Industrial Parks

The Tampa area is home to several business and industrial parks that continue to attract both new and established businesses:

  • United Business Park (UBP) offers more than 23 acres of new office buildings and warehouse spaces with utilities. This vibrant mixed-use development also has retail frontage and light industrial space. In terms of greenspace, the business park features a fishing pond and several nature trails. Lastly, UBP is located just off of West Hillsborough Avenue, making it highly accessible from North Pinellas County.

  • Tri-County Business Park offers nearly half a million square feet of commercial space, including offices, showrooms, warehouses, and light manufacturing space. It has over 14 buildings with on-site property management as well as nearby shops and restaurants. Its main asset is its location between the three most populated counties in Tampa Bay, namely Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas.

  • Cardinal Point Interstate Business Park is a Class B office park offering 123,673 square feet of office space across seven buildings with extensive capital improvements and upgrades. It also features on-site property management, ample parking, and professional landscaping. Located on US 301 at the I-4 Interchange, the office park is accessible to employees and clients coming from all over the Tampa Bay region.

  • Corporate Center I is a Class A office building offering 391,319 square feet of space across six stories. Built in 1999, it was named The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) by BOMA for four consecutive years from 2020 to 2023. It is located at the northwestern intersection of West Shore and Boy Scout Boulevards.

  • Lynmar Commerce Park has eleven centrally located buildings offering 136,250 square feet of office, flex, retail, manufacturing, and light distribution space. Located along Race Track Road, the business park is within proximity of restaurants, shops, and accommodations.

Co-Working Spaces

There are many commercial developments offering flex and co-working spaces across the city. These spaces typically feature dedicated desks, communal desks, meeting rooms, conference areas, shared kitchens, and parking options. Businesses can have their teams sign up and pay as they go. Some co-working spaces may offer additional perks such as fitness classes, events, and on-site dining.

Tech and Start-ups

!p: POTENTIAL UNLEASHED is a tech hub and start-up incubator that includes several prestigious institutions as well as tens of thousands of students, educators, and healthcare workers who drive Tampa’s economy.

As a multi-jurisdictional district, !p encompasses over 25,000 acres across Tampa, nearby Temple Terrace, and the unincorporated areas of Hillsborough County. It supports an estimated 4,100 companies and 74,000 jobs, providing resources to help locals grow their careers.

Lifestyle and Retail

Tampa is a retail destination with an array of malls, shopping centers, and mixed-use developments. Residents have access to major retailers, independent boutiques, designer brands, mom-and-pop stores, and everything in between. The retail sector is primarily driven by tourism.

Popular malls and shopping centers in Tampa include:

E-commerce and Logistics

As e-commerce continues to grow, Tampa’s warehouses and fulfillment and distribution centers will continue to benefit from the city’s proximity to ports. Amazon has several fulfillment centers and delivery stations in the area. The online retailer supports more than 2,500 jobs in Tampa and announced plans to hire over 16,000 full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees across Florida in September 2023.

FIND THE PERFECT COMMERCIAL PROPERTY FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Happy businessman presenting his colleagues new reports on a meeting in the office

The right office space is waiting for you in Tampa. Working with a commercial real estate agent and an attorney will help you find suitable office space that meets your business requirements and negotiate the most favorable terms and conditions.

Feel free to contact me, Julie Drolshagen, at 727.902.9233 or send me an email to get started. My team and I will stand by you 121%. With more than 10 years of experience in commercial and residential real estate in Florida, I am prepared to go above and beyond to get the deal done.

As a Real Estate Broker Associate (MFCRE) with Century 21 Commercial Coastal Alliance, I’ll help you write up an offer and make sure that you are covered should there be any complications. From due diligence to financing options, I will make your real estate investment work for you.

Century 21 Real Estate Brokerage provides residential investment and commercial real estate services in Pinellas County, including Tampa, Sarasota, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg. The company specializes in retail and industrial leasing as well as apartment buildings and business sales.

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