Think Before You Ink

January 1999


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 lease exhibit:

  • 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, she says.
  • 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 any contract.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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