When the word ‘warehouse’ comes to mind, the universal image is an ample, industrial space with a high roofline. It is a place where products are manufactured and stored and usually abounds with machinery, forklifts and commercial shelving systems, geared towards meeting customer requirements on time and to a high quality.
Today, warehouses are serving different purposes. Aside from providing storage space, industrial areas are being transformed into art galleries, offices, restaurants and other commercial hubs.
The potential of warehouses as commercial spaces
People see several benefits of renovating an industrial space into a commercial or cultural area. Revamping industrial space is often cheaper compared to other commercial building types. Warehouses can be tailored to fit the needs of its new owner: a school, office or an entertainment venue, for example. They offer ample space, so owners have the option and flexibility to build a new floor, divide the warehouse into zones or other renovations.
Industrial spaces and their alternative uses
The large and spacious area of a warehouse offers plenty of business opportunities, ranging from commercial to cultural. Some common warehouse uses include:
- Events Space
With a warehouse that is accessible to the public, it provides a cheap venue as a hotspot for cultural events: art galleries, concerts, film screenings and flea markets, to name a few. Some cultural events happen only for a limited period, so opt for a space that can accommodate multiple events to encourage more foot traffic.
Businesses can opt to renovate a warehouse to serve as their office space instead of renting a commercial building. Industrial areas are popular as co-working spaces for small companies, or freelancers who prefer to work at an office setting rather than at home. Thanks to the open area of a warehouse, it is an ideal space for businesses aiming for an open office design to foster creativity and collaboration.
Warehouses are an option for an expanding school to use to accommodate an influx of students. When considering to turn an industrial space into a school, make sure to comply with standards by the Ministry of Education.
Considerations when renovating a warehouse
First, check with the local authority town planners to check the zone is suitable for the function required, and health and safety regulations are met. Always review the lease to make sure the landlord allows the changes to convert the space. Additional requirements will depend on your chosen venture. If you’re going to sell and serve alcohol, you need an alcohol licence. Opening a restaurant requires you to comply with the Food Standards Code. You also have to check insurance, tax liabilities and access to public utilities.
Although warehouses were initially built for manufacturing and storage, they also have the potential to be converted into creative, commercial spaces. Because of the flexibility of industrial space, you can run not only one but multiple ventures, allowing you to generate more income. Whether you need to temporarily improve your cash flow or put up a long-term business, a warehouse could be your biggest asset.