Comparing Class A, B, and C Office Space

Thoughtful explanation of Investment Real Estate in Marin County and beyond.

You’ll often hear office space classified as “Class A”, “Class B” and “Class C” . While building standards boards may have more specific structural categorizations, the terms are most commonly used to describe tenant needs and desires based on things like finishes, and prestige of location.

Class A often space has come to be a subjective term with generally agreed standards of having glass, stone or metal exteriors, 3 or more stories, steel frame construction with poured concrete floors, and all of that with excellent landscaping, and high quality lobby space with marble floors, brass or chrome doors and finishes and similar cosmetic materials used. The line between a building built structurally as I describe and but with more tired lobby and hallway finishes can be vague at times. Those buildings would be considered Class B space in many markets.

In general, Marin, like other older suburbs, has a bit lower bar for the “class a” definition than larger commercial districts full of 10 to 20 story high rises.

Extremely well landscaped and appointed buildings in the most prestigious location can sometimes be grouped with the Class A space even while the building type itself would usually not qualify.

In Marin and the North bay, Class B buildings are well maintained, well landscaped, freshly painted and carpet buildings most commonly of two stories with extensive wood or stucco finishes.

Offices that cannot meet the “Class B” standards would fall into “Class C”. Drive up one story office buildings or office space contiguous to industrial space are common examples.

In reality, the Class A term is most frequently used term, with the lesser classifications conveniently omitted from descriptions.

It certainly wouldn’t surprise you to learn that lease rates per square foot correlate to the class qualities. When someone is looking for the least expensive option or perhaps need more flexibility with semi retail aspects of their operations, class C is the best choice.

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