Copyright 2022 SPARK

Factors That Tech Firms Should Consider When Choosing a Location for Ann Arbor Office Space

January 12, 2022 Regional Updates
Map pointer on map sitting on laptop

Contributed by Margaret Wyzlic, Oxford Companies
Margaret has led Oxford Companies’ marketing team since mid-2020. With an extensive background in hospitality and tourism, she brings a passion for economic development and community building to her role at Ann Arbor’s largest commercial real estate organization. Read more from Oxford

First Things First

If your tech company is in its early stages, an incubator or accelerator could be a great fit! Ann Arbor SPARK knows that the demands on growing businesses are extensive, and they do an incredible job of supporting economic development throughout Washtenaw and Livingston counties. Coworking, desk, and office space are available in Innovation Centers located in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. Offering more than just a place to work, SPARK has an array of services for budding startups like consulting expertise and educational programs. And, both Innovation Centers are in desirable locations in downtown environments that offer great amenities.

Think About Your Staff

When your organization is ready for an office space of its own, one of your main considerations should be the needs and preferences of your workforce. Does your team value a hot location in downtown Ann Arbor that offers proximity to great restaurants, shopping, and cultural attractions? Would your staff be happier in a conveniently located office on Ann Arbor’s southside, right off the interstate, making their commute as straightforward as possible? Does your organization tend to attract the type of team members that will want easy access to lots of happy hour options near the University of Michigan’s North Campus, or are they more likely to value a nearby drive-thru coffee shop on the west side of Ann Arbor? If you choose an office location that your staff appreciates, they’re more likely to get excited about coming to work and more likely to contribute and innovate for the benefit of your business.

Consider Your Costs

There are lots of factors that go into the cost of leasing office space. The age and quality of the building, maintenance costs associated with the property, amenities available, and location all play into the final – often negotiable – price per square foot. All other factors being equal, Ann Arbor’s downtown has a higher cost per square foot than most other areas in the city, and an area such as Ann Arbor’s southside will offer office spaces that keep costs down. There are also often great deals to be found throughout the entire Ann Arbor area, so whether you’re working directly with a leasing and property management company like Oxford Companies or with a tenant broker, be sure to ask about hidden gems throughout the area that might provide outstanding value.

Room to Grow

How quickly are you anticipating that you’ll scale your business? If you think that it’s possible that you’ll need a lot more space in a short timeframe, keep that in mind when selecting a location! Making a significant move to a new neighborhood in a short time because of space constraints may not be ideal for your staff or customers. A neighborhood like Ann Arbor’s southside will offer a great deal of options for expansion as your tech firm scales. Thinking that you’ll probably keep the team small for a while, or perhaps you’re open to multiple satellite locations around the city? A small office space with less flexibility for expansion could be totally fine for your business, which means neighborhoods with less office availability could be a fit – like one of the downtown Ann Arbor neighborhoods, for example.

What’s Your Vibe?

Is your tech company the kind of organization that commands a bustling sort of feel in a city center? Ann Arbor’s Main Street area could be a great neighborhood to explore. Just to the east, the State Street District is adjacent to the University of Michigan’s central campus, which gives the area a youthful vibe with an energy that ebbs and flows with the academic calendar. If your organization’s culture is more wellness-centric, you might consider a more pristine, natural environment like the Forest Cove office complex on the west side of Ann Arbor – which feels more like a nature preserve than a business park. Is your company’s vibe all business, and focused on growth? The city’s southside might have the best atmosphere for you.

Whatever your business’ values and culture, Ann Arbor has office space offerings throughout the area that will fit your organization’s needs. With a progressive, innovative vibe, our entire city is shaped by world-class research, international influences, rich history, and a thriving arts and culture scene – making for a locale that will continue to attract a talented workforce and pioneering tech scene.

About Oxford Companies

Oxford Companies would be delighted to help you find your next office in our incomparable city, and we invite you to learn more about our available locations at oxfordcompanies.com or to fill out a quick form to tell us about your needs. Growing tech firms are often particularly interested in our Instant Office program, which offers a streamlined leasing process, lots of inclusions, and even an option to forego rent payments in exchange for future equity. Learn more about the Oxford Instant Office program.