Finding commercial real estate

Dear Annette:

What a delight meeting you today at the world famous WATTS Coffee House.  I am working for the South Los Angeles Economic Development Partnership, a non-profit business service company assisting companies with locating, expanding or remaining in the South LA area.

This an informational organization to help business owners best position their company in the area in order to provide jobs and increase the tax base.  We are a service organization for the region of the LA County Economic Development Corporation (web-site:

Finding commercial real estate is best with a realtor because they can do the walking, however finding someone who has your best interest is tough.  The main questions are is the space large enough?  Does it have growth potential over the next few years?  Is it in good shape?  Is it fire safe?  Is the plumbing and wiring in order?  Are the windows suitable for displaying merchandise?  What are the sign regulations?  Is there adequate storage and receiving facilities?  What is the potential customer traffic and there willingness to stop?

Annette, make sure that before you sign any lease that you KNOW:

  • as much as possible about the property and have thoroughly examined it for suitability,
  • the duration of the lease, the monthly amount and the due dates,
  • what the lessor will do to make your space usable and what you must do yourself (carpet, fixtures, etc.),
  • subleasing, subletting and assignment arrangements,
  • provisions in the event of fire, flooding or other natural disaster,
  • mutual obligations for insurance, repair and maintenance,
  • provisions for interior and exterior signage,
  • rights of removal of fixtures,
  • options and renewal arrangements, and
  • specific type of lease arrangements with Lessor (i.e. gross, net, or triple-net lease).

In some cases the lessor wants a percentage of store sales along with the rent.  We always say look before you leap and use all the professional help you can get.  Some assistance form a knowledgeable consultant or commercial real estate broker will probably save you lots of money over the life of any lease.  Fell free to contact our office any time at (310) 637-7248.

Respectfully yours,

Dean L. Jones, C.P.M.
Executive Director
South Los Angeles Economic Development Partnership