For the purpose of this column, I’m going to focus specifically on office and industrial commercial real estate.
Higher initial capital and operating costs
To balance this discussion, we need to first acknowledge it costs more per square foot to construct a building with higher than typical side wall height. That increased cost will vary depending upon the construction material and building design.
Because of the increased cubic volume of air, the utility cost to heat/cool the premises will also be greater, especially in our prairie climate with extreme fluctuations in seasonal temperatures.
Impact on office space
A recent article in Psychology Today states research shows we’re more creative in spaces with higher ceilings. Employees are more innovative in places with 10-foot ceilings when compared with (all other things being equal) people occupying space with eight-foot ceilings.
It’s interesting to note, however, that ceilings that are too high can negatively impact our state of being. Think about it for a moment and picture yourself sitting in a low-ceilinged office; then visualize working in an office with a 12-foot ceiling.
Impact on industrial warehouses
A recent analysis from Greystone Managed Investments reported industrial properties with ceiling heights greater than 26 feet had an availability rate of one per cent and net rental rates that exceeded the Toronto average by 6.5 per cent.
These properties cater to logistics and distribution-oriented tenants. Companies that have the ability to stack goods and utilize high ceilings can afford to pay more net rent because of increased efficiency and lower overall operating costs.
We’ll see a trend toward increased ceiling height in both of these sectors in the Saskatchewan commercial real estate market in coming years.
Do you have any experiences to share regarding how the factors discussed here have impacted your business decisions?