Do you have a need to setup an office in El Paso, Texas or relocating? Do you have a business start-up, or upgrading from a home based business?
El Paso Texas is a very unique city, and this has some important consequences on the commercial real estate available for rent there. El Paso is often thought of as a small town by people that have not spent time there, however it population is over 700,000, and when combined with its bordering city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the area becomes the largest population area on any international border in the world with over 2 million people. El Paso’s population is also very young, the median age being only 27 years old, and one of the fastest growing cities in the county, and second safest. So you can see the potential in doing business here.
Despite being Texas’ 4th largest city and a major international trade location, El Paso really does have a small town mentality in many ways. Unlike most cities of this size, there isn’t an abundant supply of hi-rise office building or large scale office parks. It is one of the few cities of this size with no professional sports team as well. Without any focused commercial office zones, one will find El Paso to be very spread out. So when compared to other metroplexes, the choice to fit your needs may not be as obviously spotted.
1) Location – The first thing that you learn in real estate school is Location. Choosing a location that is near a main street or freeway with good visibility is sound advice for an office in any city. However, in El Paso, instead of a vibrant central office district, you will find the city well spread out over 200 square miles, and divided into east and west by the Franklin Mountains. You will find a large selection of warehouse and retail spaces in strip malls throughout the city. While these spaces can be made to fit your business, in the long run these types of spaces may come out more expensive – both in actual costs and loss of visibility to your potential clients. So the question is, where do you look for? As you can already tell, finding office for rent in El Paso is a unique situation, while in most other cities you can easily spot where most of the offices are. The best way to look at El Paso is a giant suburb. First you need to decide which side of town. The east side is the fastest growing, and the west side is well established and has a larger concentration of higher income households. Similar to a small town, you should then start looking at the main streets. The busy streets to consider here would be:
Montana (wouldn’t recommend going too far east though)
I-10 Frontage (gateway)
If you are on one of these streets and can get a good rate, I think you will be ahead of the game. Being a border city, there is a lot of industrial parks and warehouse areas, on streets such as Rojas Street, also near the military base Fort Bliss and many other parts of town. Though many of these can be converted to offices, I wouldn’t consider these as your first choice if you would like some foot traffic and be conveniently located where people regularly commute. The closest thing to an office “zone” is Downtown El Paso, with the rest being mixed in throughout the city in residential and retail zones. However, downtown you may have to contend with more congestion, parking issues, and more of a commute. Though the city is trying to revitalize it’s missing “business hub”, downtown is still at a low watermark from its old days, with many dilapidated and under utilized buildings. Promising projects are taking place there, but other then a few national banks, a lot of the concentrated corporate presence has left many years ago.
2) Price – Price is often an important factor for most businesses. Generally speaking, the west side will have higher rates, and the lower valley will be the cheapest as well as the north east – however space in those areas can be hard to find. For office space, we found the average square foot price to be roughly $17.
3) Size – Size is a big factor. Here we are assuming you are looking for your first office space. There are some locations that offer office suite spaces which are generally much smaller, 1 person offices, and in many cases can grow with your needs with either more spaces or moving up to your own private suite. However, sometimes these spaces are not really “yours” so to speak, and known as “Virtual Offices”, so make sure you know if its a designated space or not. In a virtual setup, it is difficult to leave things in them and you have to schedule when you are using that office space, or billed for the time you spend there. El Paso does offer some dedicated suites we will talk about later in this article. El Paso has both virtual and dedicated office suites available both on the east and west sides. This is a good option for a startup.
4) Amenities – It is always nice to get a little extra for what you pay. Do they offer janitorial service for your space, or free Internet service, some leasing companies have their own IT department and so tenants in a space get to take advantage of the IT staff. Whatever it may be, these are extras that can help you weigh your decision. El Paso’s culture is definitely open to negotiating. If price is more rigid then you would like, get added value in perks.