The Top 5 Coolest Tenant Build Outs in the U.S.

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Purpose: To provide facility managers with insights on popular and efficient tenant build out trends.


●     What exactly is a tenant build out?

●     Does office design and layout really matter?

●     What are some examples of well designed business spaces?

These days, tenants are often able to negotiate a “buildout” allowance with their landlord as part of a commercial lease agreement. So, what exactly does a buildout entail? Typically, tenants expect to furnish and retrofit the interior of the rented space themselves. For businesses, the ability to customize an office space as one’s own is an increasingly important rental consideration — especially for those companies that wish to align their workspace design with their company identity.

There’s plenty of reason to depart from the standardized office cubicle (aside from design and company culture). Studies have shown that aesthetically pleasing offices with natural light, high ceilings, rounded furniture, artwork, and plants can help reduce stress and increase productivity in the workplace.

As a guide, here are 5 of the most interesting and appealing tenant building offices in the U.S.

1. Zurich Insurance, Schaumburg, IL



Zurich Insurance’s North American headquarters are located in the greater Chicago area, right beside Interstate Highway 90. The office has a vast view, free from other tall buildings that could otherwise obstruct the scene. Therefore, the tenant has maximized natural light by incorporating tall ceilings and windows. The building is also aimed to support a collaborative and comfortable work environment with numerous social hubs, sit-stand desks, and even automated blinds.

This entire space was crowdsourced by Zurich employees. The firm asked 2,500 staff members to contribute ideas and preferences to their building design partners. Later, these Zurich employees had the opportunity to work in groups within a “prototype environment,” where they were able to give feedback on specific design features. Including employees in the initial phases of development helped Zurich create a space that would best serve the company’s innovation and teamwork.

2. WeWork, Chicago, IL

Photo: WeWork

Photo: WeWork

WeWork Chicago took over the National Building in the Chicago Loop and made it their own. This coworking space was looking to revamp their aesthetic and functionality. The space has now been made-over and features clean walls, wooden floors, and minimalist furniture.

All the alterations of the space were business-focused, as you’ll see when exploring the space. You can find plenty of area for interaction and conversation and larger communal areas that invite people to relax and work together. But, if you’re looking to hunker down and complete a task or host a client meeting, WeWork built out private conference rooms that you can take advantage of.

3. Yelp Headquarters, San Francisco, CA

Photo: Business Insider

Photo: Business Insider

When Yelp decided to expand, they relocated to a high-rise building in the financial district of San Francisco. Within this space, designers implemented an innovative idea that would facilitate interaction on multiple floor levels. Each floor has a key attraction that appeals to others. For example, the 8th floor has a coffee shop, while the 11th floor features semi-private pods. Each floor was customized with the ideal tenant in mind.

Walking through the space, it’s hard to tell if you’re in a hip café or an office. Yelp intentionally created this atmosphere. It draws in talent and creates a buzz around their business and design. Not to mention, it boosts productivity and mood in the workplace!

4. Constellation Brands, Chicago, IL

Three Moran Group companies collaborated on Constellations Brands’ tenant buildout.

●     F.E. Moran was in charge of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning

●     F.E. Moran Fire Protection was responsible for fire sprinkler assembly

●     The plumbing department set up plumbing facilities on five floors

The project consisted of a 150,000 square foot building in Chicago, IL, and focused on the visionary aspect of Constellation Brands. They believe in pushing boundaries with their products, and they wished to do the same with their office space. They incorporated catchy wall art, windowed conference spaces, and an open layout to cater to the needs of their employees, giving them the ability to create independently or collaboratively — and to enjoy the space while they’re hard at work.

5. IMC in Chicago, IL

Photo: Glassdoor

Photo: Glassdoor

The aim of this buildout was to motivate employees with a new workplace, as well as to promote IMC’s collaborative and innovative culture. IMC underwent a 60,000 square foot expansion and restoration to achieve these goals. The key features they wanted to include in their renovation were:

●     Informal meeting spaces

●     Writable surfaces

●     Training areas

●     Interaction between multiple levels

Throughout this buildout, a staircase was added to foster greater interaction between the floors, warm natural woods were highlighted to create a sense of belonging, and flexible rooms were designed to incorporate IMC’s technology-driven approach. Overall, this buildout was a success in rebranding IMC’s workspace.

How do you plan to incorporate tenant buildouts in your facility?

In Conclusion

Now, tenant buildouts are more popular than ever, and as a facility manager you may want to consider the impact of tenant build outs and what they could mean for you.

Be sure to consider what benefits buildouts can offer you and your tenants — making accommodations for the right buildout could get you your next tenant, or allow you to lease to a previous tenant interested in the space. 

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