The Difference Between Class A and Class B Buildings

If you are in the market for commercial office space, you will notice that each property carries one of three classifications — Class A, Class B or Class C. These classifications are given by BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association International), and they denote the status of the building.

When classifications are given, all aspects of the building are taken into consideration, including the age, quality and appearance of the physical structure, available amenities, level of service, the desirability of the location and the cost to lease.

Class A is the most prestigious and coveted designation, followed by Class B and finally Class C.

Hartman’s portfolio consists primarily of Class B space, with several Class A properties. As we acquire new properties in the Houston, San Antonio and Dallas markets, each goes through a rigorous inspection, and many improvements are made along the way, regardless of their classification.

Much like our Class A buildings, our Class B office properties have on-site management and maintenance, which allows for quicker turnaround time on any issues our tenants may bring to our attention — with many issues handled before they cause a disruption.

Our on-site management and maintenance help keep our properties well-maintained and running smoothly. We offer exceptional service to our tenants, which includes personal touches from Hartman staff, tenant appreciation events, multi-level security measures and business support. When you lease with Hartman, you are getting Class A amenities and service, with a Class B price.

While there are properties in other classes available in most markets, today, we will focus on the differences between Class A and Class B properties, and what you can expect when comparing the two.

Appearance

One of the biggest differences between Class A and Class B buildings is their appearance. Class A buildings are typically high-rises, whereas Class B buildings are smaller in size. Class A buildings tend to have higher ceilings as well, providing a more spacious feel.

Another noticeable difference between Class A and Class B buildings is the interiors. In a Class A building, you will find a large, luxurious lobby, usually decorated with fancy paintings and antiques, depending on the companies operating there. In a Class B building, the lobby is usually less ornate and smaller, yet still quite nice.

Class A buildings are usually new construction buildings or buildings that have been extensively renovated, whereas Class B buildings are typically older buildings that have had fewer upgrades in recent years.

Amenities

Another major difference between Class A and Class B buildings are the amenities that are offered.

Class A buildings usually have top-of-the-line amenities, including extravagant fixtures and the latest technological systems. It is not uncommon to find amenities such as gyms, saunas, coffee bars, meeting rooms, cafes, and security systems in these buildings.

Class A buildings usually have structured parking garages for their tenants, as well as top-of-the-line elevators and HVAC systems, which puts them a step above Class B properties.

Class B buildings tend to have some amenities, but not as many as Class A properties and not as luxurious. On-site conference rooms or vending areas are common, but you will not typically find high-end amenities such as gyms or food courts in these buildings.

Class B properties usually have on-site parking options, but they may not be covered or abundant.

Service (Property Management)

Class A buildings usually come with top-notch professional property management and concierge services that keep the property clean, well-kept, and running smoothly. With on-site property management, any maintenance issues are promptly addressed to ensure high tenant satisfaction.

Class A buildings also have top-performing security systems, with cameras in common parts of the property and parking garages, on-site security officers, and enhanced security measures to get in the buildings.

Class B buildings might have on-site property management, but it is far less common. The maintenance at Class B buildings is typically less flawless than in Class A, and larger repairs may take a few days to fix, such as elevator or HVAC issues.

Class B buildings may have on-site security, but usually only for limited hours during the workday. The security systems are typically older than you’d see in a Class A building.

Location

You will find Class A buildings in high-traffic, high-income areas of town. They are usually centrally located and have easy access to major freeways.
Class B buildings can also be located in highly sought-after areas, but don’t usually provide direct access to freeways. Class B buildings are more likely to be found in nice, but less prestigious parts of town.

Cost

Perhaps the biggest difference between Class A and Class B buildings is the cost.

Class A buildings command a much higher price due to their location, size, amenities, and luxurious features. Because of their high cost, usually only large companies and high-performing business can afford to rent office space in Class A buildings.

Class B buildings have a more reasonable cost and are usually competitively priced. Maintenance costs are lower in Class B buildings, making them a better value for businesses on a tight budget.

The Hartman Difference

Our portfolio consists of mainly Class B properties with several Class A properties. What sets Hartman apart from our competitors is the service, personal attention and amenities that we provide for our tenants.

“Every year, we are renovating and performing capital improvements to ensure our buildings run as smoothly as possible,” said CEO Allen Hartman. “Every new property that joins our portfolio undergoes an extensive renovation that improves the property condition. We upgrade the security systems, lighting and elevators if they are in poor condition. We also bring value to our buildings by adding sought after amenities, including on-site conference rooms and tenant lounges.”

We recently had extensive renovations done at one of our Class B properties in Dallas. We upgraded the gym by adding locker rooms, showers, and a sauna, and had $500,000 of renovations done on the 13th floor to turn it into a shared amenity space. We added conference rooms, lounges and kitchens with a fully stocked snack and coffee bar to this space. We are planning to add four more shared amenity spaces to various properties in our portfolio by the end of 2020.
We have several locations throughout the Houston, Dallas and San Antonio major submarkets. Call us today at 713.467.2222 to start your office search.

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