In our office we deal with a ton of retail and office leases for all types of landlords and tenants. One very large and significant difference between retail and office space is how square footage is quoted. Many tenants are unaware of the difference between leasable/rentable square footage versus usable square footage. Leasable/rentable square footage includes what is called a load factor, which includes shared common space ie. hallways, restrooms, stairwells, etc. So as a tenant it may be advisable to ask what percentage of the building is considered common area and what the load factor is of the building. This means that the actual space you are leasing will measure smaller than what is listed in the ad. This is common for office space, so as a tenant or buyer you need to understand this concept in order to appear knowledgeable to the seller and brokers involved in the deal. Otherwise, you may be become a target rather than a buyer or tenant.
Building Square footage: 10,000
Common Area Square footage: 1,500
Load Factor = Common Area SF / Building SF 15%
Unit 101 Leasable/Rentable Square footage: 1,000
Leasable SF x (100% – Load Factor) = Usable SF
Unit 101 Usable Square footage: 850