Equipment planning is critical to the revival of America’s aging warehouses

When it’s time for your company to invest in new commercial real estate, it may seem natural to start scouting plots of land. Today, however, many companies take a different route. Instead of looking for a place to build new, they’re seeking out already constructed facilities they can revamp to make their own.

Facilities left behind by companies that moved or went out of business offer many opportunities to someone who can envision a renovation to meet another organization’s needs. There are numerous benefits to utilizing existing buildings instead of pursuing new construction. At the same time, there are challenges that companies must consider during a renovation project.

Advantages of adaptive reuse of existing facilities

Numerous examples of companies taking advantage of vacant commercial facilities can be found across the country. In North Carolina, a former construction crane manufacturing plant was updated and now fabricates rail cars, CNN reported. A GM manufacturing facility in Michigan that was closed down now hosts a robotics and manufacturing equipment maker and other tenants. A former grocery chain distribution center in Ohio is now occupied by a German auto parts maker.

Two of the biggest benefits to the company taking charge of the renovations are the time and cost savings. Rehabilitating an existing building to support a completely new operation costs about 16 percent less than building a whole new facility, and takes about 18 percent less time, according to Trade & Industry Development.

Reusing existing buildings can also bring benefits to the local community. Consider the renewed manufacturing plant in North Carolina; according to WECT 6, a local NBC affiliate station, closing the Terex Cranes facility in 2011 eliminated about 90 jobs from the area. Three years later, Vertex Rail moved into the space. The company expects to create 1,342 jobs and to invest $60 million into the area, according to Port City Daily, a local news outlet from Wilmington, North Carolina.

Challenges in adaptive reuse

Despite the tangible benefits of adaptively reusing commercial real estate, there are some obstacles that organizations will need to contend with.

One major hurdle is ensuring the building is up to code. If the facility was constructed many decades prior, there could be outdated electrical or structural work that must be addressed as soon as possible. Evaluating the space is also important for identifying how to best utilize the area. When constructing a building for a specified use from scratch, it’s possible to make modifications to the design to accommodate particular assets. But when reusing an existing building, this isn’t always the case. Companies may be able to adjust the layout, but there may be certain limitations to overcome.

A team of certified service professionals can be a major help in this area. These experts can identify unique industrial storage and equipment solutions so you can make the most of existing buildings. Once the best assets for the facility’s intended use are identified, it’s important to have them installed correctly. That same team of service professionals can take on this task too.

Finally, once every asset is in place and it’s time to begin using the building, it’s critical that the facility manager has a plan to keep a close eye on the operation of all assets as well as the structural health of the building. Catching small problems early on can help avoid major setbacks and maintenance-related costs down the road. Working with Miner can help your building reuse efforts start out strong and last for years to come. Contact us to learn more.