Frequently Asked Questions

How far in advance should I look for office space?

This is a very common question with a difficult answer! In general, after one has chosen a space to lease, negotiations can take up to a month. The drawing up of the lease can take the same amount of time, with the landlord approvals then taking at least a few weeks--so the shortest amount of time you could have a signed and approved lease is about three months. Usually Verizon and internet providers will then schedule installations only after negotiations are finished, and then will take up to a month for an instillation appointment. If you were then to do work, that would begin only after the lease commences as well, so plan on at least an additional month for simple paint and carpet, two months for minor renovations and at least four months for major work (plus at least a month for basic architectural plans).  This all means that the least amount of time that one can move into a space after selection is four months, with a more realistic time frame being six months.

What is the reason that leases offer rentable space and not usable space?

One of the many frustrating things about New York City commercial real estate is that you do not rent what you think you are leasing, meaning you sign up for "rentable" space rather than "usable." This means that if you are paying for a 1,000 square foot office, it is probably closer to 800 square feet (which means that particular building has a 20% loss factor). Every building has a different loss factor, and all measurements are approved by The Real Estate Board of New York. Often times if you add up all of the rentable space it ends up being more than the size of the entire building!  The justification here is that you are paying for common space, such as the elevators, halls, lobby, the cellar, etc. Other cities have a standard that essentially gives you what you pay for, but not in New York City, where I am not aware of one commercial building that measures useable space this way.


New York City’s largest Property Owners*

New York City 362.1 million square feet

Vornado 29.7 million square feet

SL Green 28.7 million square feet

Tishman Speyer 20.5 million square feet

Blackstone 20.1 million square feet

Related 18.7 million square feet

Columbia University 17.9 million square feet

Brookfield Property 17.5 million square feet

RXR Realty 16.5 million square feet

New York University 14.3 million square feet

Durst Organization 14.1 million square feet

LeFrak Organization 13.9 million square feet

Rudin Management 13.1 million square feet

Solil Management 12.5 million square feet

Silverstein Properties 12.1 million square feet

  • The Real Deal, 9/18