Real Estate Insights: Office Space for Start-Ups

Expectations vs Reality

There comes a time in the evolution of every successful start-up when growth commands that you consider your options for space. However, based on current market reality, start-ups only seeking downtown office space must be prepared to modify their expectations.

What are your essential requirements?

Thoroughly assessing your basic needs is the first step in determining what sort of office space is best for your company. Here are some key questions to ask:

  • How much flexibility do you require in your lease to meet your growth target?
  • Talent, Talent, Talent: How important is the location of your office space to attract and retain employees?
  • How much space do you really require, both today and in the near future?
  • What amenities (food and beverage services, electric car parking, bike parking, pets accepted spaces, IT infrastructure and high bandwidth providers, etc.) are absolute necessities?


  • Investigate co-working space. This class of office space may be best for smaller operations but may not be the best long-term solution for a start-up experiencing steady growth as costs can become more expansive.
  • Keep an eye on the sublease market. A good real estate broker will help you identify sublease opportunities as they arise, but be aware that these spaces are quickly snapped up.
  • Look outside the downtown core, where space is more plentiful, asking net rents are lower and leases are generally more flexible without compromising on a full range of amenities.
  • Be prepared. Start your search for office space as early as possible, have a thorough list of your needs in hand, and be ready to move quickly when an opportunity arises.
  • Work with your broker as he/she will be able to advise you on emerging leasing opportunities as well as guide you through all those key considerations.

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