Commercial brokers and the art of leasing- how to improve leasing with art

Art seen through the windows can make an empty space come alive and attract attention.
Art seen through the windows can make an empty space come alive and attract attention.

In today’s competitive office and commercial real estate market, commercial real estate brokers need to get creative when it comes to leasing space.   One way to do that is with art. 

Art can turn a life-less space into a feast for the eyes and senses.  As with residential home staging, customers want to feel an emotional connection to the place where they will do business. Of course, many other factors play into leasing commercial and office space, but with the feirce competition that exists, whatever you can do as a broker to make a space more appealing can help close the deal.   Here are some ideas:

  • A boring “for lease” sign on the window is not going to get you noticed.  Fill empty, foreboding windows with art and creative vinyl graphics.  The effort will help make the building come alive.  This is an especially good strategy for urban areas with pedestrian and slow moving traffic. You will entice customers to take a closer look.
  • Turn a large, soul-less space into an art gallery.  The art will add vibrancy and character to a life-less space and help clients understand the scale.  Often shows that are up for one month or more will get publicity in the local newspaper art gallery listings. And this is a good way to get press for a building.
  • Publicize an art show/open house party.  You will draw excitement from the broker community, potential leasors, and the public.  You will also receive media coverage for the event and substantially increase traffic through the space.

As a broker, this may sound overwhelming because art is not your expertise.  However, all you need is a good partner.   Just contact a local  art curator to handle artists, logistics and PR.  Find them through your regional arts council.  All you need to do is make sure that insurance and landlord issues are resolved.

About the author

Janelle Fendall Baglien is an artist and 20 year veteran of marketing and publicity.  She is president of Studio Art Direct, Inc., a Portland, Oregon firm specializing in enhancing healthcare, hospitality, commercial, office and corporate spaces with art created by regional artists.


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