Design Strategies to Jump Start your Real Estate Asset


As a result of the recession and its fiscal impact, distressed assets have become an undeniable part of today’s Commercial Real Estate Market. With competition growing, a building’s overall aesthetic makes a significant impact on its marketability and long term viability.

There are four key design strategies that can maximize the long term viability of any asset while also maintaining budget objectives:

Exterior and Interior Upgrades

  • Create a design focus on the focal points of the building, as these are the most impactful areas for upgrades.
  • The exterior renovation of downtown San Diego’s Bank of America Tower located at 450 B Street focused on two main areas, the building entry and courtyard.

Timeless Design

  • When approaching a repositioning project, create a design that is modern, timeless, functional, and delivers a good return on investment.
  • As exemplified in the Bank of America Tower lobby’s interior, effectively integrating natural materials maintains longevity and timelessness of the design.
  • In a highly competitive market, the asset down the street with the same lease rate but greater aesthetic appeal, will likely win out.


Building System Upgrades


  • As a long-term option, building system upgrades (mechanical, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems) can create more efficiency, lower water and electrical bills and result in a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Taking this approach can help an older property compete with newer buildings, while also staying relevant in the current market.
  • Upfront investment can result in various long term savings opportunities for both owners and tenants.

Incorporating Sustainable Design

  • Use of regional materials (i.e. wood, natural stone, tiles, etc.) and finishes that have a high percentage of recycled content (i.e. carpets, laminate, wall paper, etc.) are more durable and long lasting. This is especially useful in high traffic, common areas where finishes may have to be replaced more frequently.
  • Sustainable options also exist for building systems, such as energy efficient cooling/heating systems, lighting fixtures, water efficient plumbing, irrigation, and automated daylight system controls, can be introduced and can further decrease every day operational cost.

As the market continues to see historically high vacancy rates this is the perfect opportunity to reposition an asset for success. Integrating a timeless design, which includes sustainable design elements, will improve the marketability of the property. Carefully investing in a building’s aesthetics, infrastructure, and systems will ultimately provide a positive return on investment.

The complete article was also published in the San Diego Daily Transcript.