The Pros and Cons of Renting Office Space in Historic Buildings

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Finding office space for rent might not be the most exciting part of starting or expanding your business, but it is essential to the day-to-day success of your operation. And in most U.S. cities, you’ll find no shortage of available spaces for rent. From high-tech co-working spaces in fancy new lofts to asbestos-filled basements on the edge of town. Obviously you want to find office space for rent that meets your technological needs, fits within your budget, and offers you and your employees a clean work space.

In big cities like Detroit and New York City, you’ll find a mix of brand new offices and historic buildings. While many people are taken with the steel-and-glass architecture that’s ubiquitous in modern office buildings, many of us are equally drawn to the art-deco and gothic architecture of grand old buildings. The benefits of a brand new building are obvious, but what are the pros and cons of renting office space in a historic building?

The Benefits of Office Space for Rent in Historic Buildings

Let’s use Detroit as an example. Although Motor City is still at the heart of the American auto industry, the area also took a major hit during the Great Recession, more so than most cities. Because of that, there are now many historic buildings with ample office space rentals available. While you’ll find a handful of sub-par listings, many of these buildings have been thoroughly renovated for the 21st century. That being said, they might not have the modern feel of a recently constructed loft.

You might think historic buildings’ office space for rent might cost more, but that’s not usually the case. In fact, it’s often cheaper to rent office space in older buildings. Plus, historic buildings are usually located in urban downtown areas, meaning you can find cheap office space in a prime location. And not all benefits can be quantified on a spreadsheet. Inspiring architecture really does improve one’s quality of life, and many older buildings have classic gothic or art-deco flourishes that blow away boring 21st century architecture.

Finally, working in a historic building can play into your company’s branding. Professional office space in a classic, well-known building can offer a flattering contrast for a young startup company still establishing its reputation. If you do decide to find office space for rent in an older building, simply make sure to do your due diligence. Speak to other tenants in the building first, if possible.

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