Think Before You Ink
Lease exhibit proposals save time, money, grief
Tina Martin wants retailers to think before they ink, as Chain Store
Agemagazine puts it, when it comes to signing store lease agreements.
Martin is a principal at Martin & Associates, Wayne, PA. She delivered
a speech on the value of lease exhibits at a recent retailer convention.
Her advice is to have "all the cards on the table" at the start
of the relationship with the landlord. A unified lease exhibit proposal,
which includes detailed information about logistics, construction plans
and other topics, prevents miscommunication. "It's all duked out at
the beginning," Martin says. Here are some of her tips for a solid
- Make a site survey. Martin advises using outside architects to visit
the site, take pictures and meet with mall staffers. The process usually
turns up information landlords would rather retailers didn't discover,
- Highlight specific construction issues. Details such as the rent commencement
date and how long you have after signing a lease until you must open the
store should be spelled out in the exhibit.
- Develop a checklist regarding store design. Must your sign be a certain
size? Can you use hardwood floors instead of vinyl? How often does the
mall require you to remodel?
- Attach a picture of the storefront to the lease. It's a good way to
protect a retail image.
- Examine construction backcharges. Add a clause stating that any construction
charges not included in contracts will not be billed to the tenant. Such
wording usually motivates "the construction people to jump up and
say, 'You have to pay for A, B and C,'" she says.
- Check into electricity. Know how much utilities will cost throughout
the lease. Try to get as much of the costs as possible figured before completing
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