A Guide to Tenant Improvement Costs with Bennet Sebastian

In this episode, Amy Calandrino chats with Bennet Sebastian Principal of Invision about tenant improvement costs.  Bennet’s company Invision was founded to provide a full suite of professional construction services to clients in the Orlando area. Our services include preconstruction and design assistance, general contracting, design-build, and construction management services for professional offices, medical offices, retail, warehouse, and assisted living.

Here are the six tenant improvement scenarios that you will often come across. Keep in mind these are just budget numbers and are based on usable square feet, not gross leasable area. Also, note that there are economies of scale when it comes to construction costs. A 20,000-square-foot space will have a lower cost per foot when compared to a 2,000-square-foot space.   

  1. Light / Cosmetic Renovation: $8-$12/SF
    This is limited to replacing flooring and repainting and other minor cosmetic improvements and typically will not require a building permit. All walls are to remain and no major mechanical, electrical, or plumbing is involved. A big variable here is the type of flooring being specified. Broadloom carpet with vinyl cove base in the office area and VCT in the wet areas will be on the lower end of the cost spectrum. Carpet tile, LVT, and ceramic tile will put the costs at the high end of the range. 
  2. Medium Renovation: $20-$30/SF
    This includes reconfiguration of the space along with the items noted above. As walls get moved, demoed, or built there will typically also be work associated with electrical, lighting, HVAC, fire sprinkler, fire alarm, and telecom. The big variable here is the amount of private offices versus open space. Another variable is whether existing or proposed walls just run to the ceiling grid or go all the way to the roof deck or floor above. 
  3. Standard Build Out From Vanilla Shell: $30-$40/SF
    In this scenario, most MEP systems are in place as are the ceiling, lighting, and perimeter walls. As walls get built, the configuration and distribution of these MEP systems will be required. 
  4. Standard Build Out From Grey Shell: $50-$70/SF
    A full build-out assumes there is nothing in the existing space except a bare concrete floor and metal deck above, aka dark grey shell. Usually, the space will have minimum fire sprinkler coverage and an electrical service but that’s about it. HVAC system and distribution of other MEP items will be required. Ceilings, restrooms, and breakrooms will also be needed.
  5. High End Build Out: $70-$100/SF
    These are the kind of spaces you would expect to see at a prestigious law firm within a Class A building. High-end finishes, modern lighting, and glass partitions are common components of a high-end office build-out. The top end of the budget is only limited to the designer’s imagination.
  6. Medical Office Buildout: $80-$120/SFHigh End Build Out: $70-$100/SF

Due to the density and MEP requirements, this buildout tends to be more costly.