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Building Classifications in New York City

March 14th, 2014 / Author: rbielsky

nyc building classificationsNot all office space is created equal. In New York City, agents, tenants, and property owners use an informal classification system to categorize commercial buildings. These standards are used to determine the desirability of the building and give you an idea of the asking price.

The classes are subjective, but they can be useful. They are used categorize a building according to its age, amenities, infrastructure, location, and aesthetics.

Here’s a list of some (but not all) factors used to determine a building’s classification.

  • Location and access
  • Construction type
  • Parking
  • Common areas
  • Floor-load capacity
  • Elevators
  • HVAC systems
  • Auxiliary power supplies
  • On-site or nearby facilities (shops, restaurants, ATMs, etc.)
  • Safety and security systems

In New York City commercial real estate, there are always exceptions and changes to any rule. Buildings should always be viewed in the context of similar buildings in similar areas. Here is a simple breakdown of the classification system.

Class A

These are the newest, most modern buildings. No expenses have been spared. Class A buildings have large, impressive lobbies and state-of-the-art technologies. They are well maintained and usually positioned on an avenue near major transportation nodes. You’re likely to see a doorman or guard at the front.

These buildings were built to be offices, so their heating, ventilating, and elevator systems are frequently serviced by on-site property management staff. The rents in these buildings are is typically higher than the average and tenant concessions are rare because the space is highly sought.

You’ll find these buildings along Fifth Avenue, near Grand Central, and downtown in the Financial District. Nearly all the buildings on Sixth Avenue are Class A structures.

Class B

These buildings are found along the avenues, but also the side streets. They’re usually older, but have been updated and revitalized. They are well-maintained and fully functional, though they will have less amenities than a Class A building. They command average rental rates for their neighborhood.

Many times these buildings adopt modern looks but keep their historic elements, such as large windows and high ceilings. Often investors will target these buildings as investments. Well-located Class B buildings can be modified into Class A buildings.

You’ll find many of these properties along Midtown South in Chelsea, near Union Square, Flatiron, SoHo, Tribeca, and the Garment District.

Class C

Class C buildings certainly aren’t the worst buildings in the city, but on average, they’re around twenty years old. They still charge competitive rents, but there’s more room to negotiate special terms. Class C buildings are usually smaller and more casual. They may require extensive renovation to meet your needs. You may even have a personal relationship with the landlord.

These buildings are typically on side streets in the less desirable districts. The fixtures and bathrooms may be several years old and the technology is out of date. Lobbies are usually unattended and they have a single elevator. These buildings are often targeted as investment redevelopment projects.

You’ll find Class C buildings all over and while they aren’t the best, they’re suitable for a majority of the business needs of New York City.

new york city commercial realtyWritten By Robert Bielsky Owner of Manhattan Commercial Realty

Mr. Bielsky holds a national reputation as a leader in the commercial real estate industry. His market expertise, creative deal making skills, and keen knowledge of the art of negotiation have maintained his position at the forefront of the industry.

As the founder and Chairman of Manhattan Commercial Realty he leads one of the most powerful negotiating teams in NYC. With his leadership mCr has maintained a strict dedication to tenant representation, and successfully negotiated over $1 billion in real estate transactions since its inception in 1982.

He is frequently called upon by clients, fellow brokers and industry experts for his opinions on complex litigation, lease negotiations, and to provide clarity on intricate industry matters.

Mr. Bielsky has been a keynote speaker on a multitude of real estate panels and has recently retired as an NCAA Football Referee after a long and distinguished career.

He also is the son of the legendary partisan leader Tuvia Bielski, who led the largest armed rescue of Jews by Jews in WW2. His actions were depicted in the movie Defiance (2009), starring Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jaime Bell.

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