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Planning for Change (#4 of 10 Principles)

Change will happen; let’s plan for it.

Plan to anticipate change

Plan to anticipate change

As architects how can we anticipate long-term change of a private house or an institutional building owner? Can we, as architects, limit turnover of a commercial lease tenants?  Typically, people and buildings change together.

How can residential buildings plan for change?

In residential design, we consider how a client can break the traditional migration pattern. Typically, people start with a small house if they are living alone, and expand to as their family grows. Then, they downsize as the kids grow older and move out. Or homeowners could use the now empty parts of the house as passive income.  We can also consider multi-generational compounds were family members can move between structures as families grow and lives downsize.

Can institutions anticipate change as well?

Watercolor Painting of Prayer Walk

Watercolor Painting of Prayer Walk

For institutional owners, using a master-plan design concept creates solutions to evolve or even lead fundraising.  We master planned a future prayer walk for the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, to be installed a couple of years after the first phase of construction.

It is convenient to have the next phase in your back pocket, available for an immediate capital campaign to respond for a large gift inquiry. Other owners can plan for a future asset creation by planning for prime parcels for sale with a low cap rate lease in place. When is it time to create some cash, they can target long term-tenants with low cap rates. The tenants can build to suit, rent, and then sell the building or lease to institutional investors.

Tactics developers can use to plan for change.

For commercial owners, we consider how a design can work with the tactics of our client’s ownership plan. For example, an apartment project can be designed for condo conversion as an exit strategy.

Our experience has also shown us how a shared facility building concept can create an opportunity for building owners to grow their own tenants for a next phase projects.  Prep Atlanta started as a shared kitchen facility for food trucks. It then evolved into a business incubator, because the tenants could grow within the facility. Now, the owner has finished the next phase building with larger kitchens, allowing tenants from the first facility to grow into the second.  Imagine the bank approaching a developer to tell them they really need to start the next phase. Imagine the local politicians agreeing that the building department will help however possible to get the building on line to create jobs.

We believe that buildings can effect change, and change is good.

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