Improvements White Box Space

Improvements | White Box Space

What is a white box space? A question like this may come up from a tenant that is looking to occupy a retail space or office space in Austin. White box is defined as an improved space that is “vanilla” , it really does not have any amenities or tenant specific improvements to the premises. Let’s think of a space that is completely unfinished. Minimum attributes do exist in a white box space such as

  • Electrical
  • Drywall- Sheetrock – painted white
  • Plumbing- restroom areas
  • HVAC – typical for office building space
  • Duct work-sometimes

Every tenant has their own look, just like you have a your own look when it comes to the way you dress. A white box allows the tenant to start with a blank slate and renovate it with a new look. Permitting does come into play depending on what the tenant wants , it could include many things such as : Relocation of HVAC systems, lighting , sprinkler systems, exit doors etc..


Costs of Improvements for White BoxWhite Box and Tenant improvements

Costs of improvements seem to be a grey area for most people and it is usually under-estimated. Trying to provide some clarity on costs of improvements even for white box solutions can be a bit tricky. Here are some guidelines for costs of improvements. 

  • HVAC unit replacements depending on the tonnage? $5000-$8000 per unit- this is typically for retail if your unit goes out while you are leasing the space
  •  Drywall $5 to $10 per linear foot
  • Drop ceiling $4 a square foot
  • Lighting $4 a square foot
  • Restrooms $8000-$15,000 (if it is a new restroom)
  • Flooring $4 a square foot
  •  Architect design $3 a square foot
  • MEP- mechanical electrical plumbing $1.50 a square foot (upper range)
  • Management fees for construction if you want it – 4-5% of the construction costs
  •  Permitting costs : Demo permit $250 where as a full building permit is $1500
  •  ADA review is require on projects larger than $50,000

Texas Department of licensing and registration requirements exist for projects as well and will cost up to $1,500.00