by Brock Ray
They used to be done by hand — mostly exterior sketches of new buildings and spaces. Today, sophisticated 3D design tools make them more robust and easier to modify, though no less challenging to create. In the movies, these architectural renderings serve as part of the big client reveal, in the hopes of winning a major project. In the real world, commercial architects and interior designers use them to help clients make decisions about a given design direction and interior finishes. In addition, well-designed architectural renderings can also help commercial real estate companies achieve a variety of strategic business goals. Read on to see how!
Renderings created for Cascade at Town Center helped Magellan Investment Partners shepherd the project through the entitlements process.
As PlanForce partner Ryan Schroder notes “the entitlement process is one of the most critical aspects of your architecture or development project.” If you need a variance, conditional use permit, or similar municipal permission, you’ll be required to go through the entitlement process over and above basic permitting. A big part of the process is persuading local officials that your project meets their goals for the area. When you’re looking to do something with your real estate that wasn’t envisioned by the municipal planners, great renderings can help them see the value of your vision.
For example, PlanForce recently worked with Magellan Investment Partners on significant redesigns to the Cascade at Town Center mixed-use development in Eden Prairie. The exterior changes required special consideration from the local zoning authority. Along with a solid narrative describing the changes, PlanForce created a number of architectural renderings for the hearings. The renderings helped reassure officials that the proposed changes would improve the look of the neighborhood.
Renderings of the Case building in Saint Paul helped Suntide Commercial Realty confirm funding necessary to get the project built.
Well-crafted architectural renderings also come in handy when cultivating investors for a new commercial real estate project. The costs of large-scale ground-up architecture projects can be significant, and investors need to see the numbers to know that a project is worth the outlay. It also helps to show them what the final product will look like through renderings and, increasingly, virtual reality. This “sense of the space” is critical to getting funders excited about the project.
In many cases, detailed renderings can even help explain why certain aspects of the project (and their costs) are necessary. For example, the design for the Case building in St. Paul called for massive skylights throughout the building’s common area. The renderings for the project show how those skylights illuminate the space, creating a unique streetscape for tenants.
Renderings of the common areas within Minnetonka Corporate Center helped Altus Properties get the space leased up before the project had been completed.
Prospective Tenants & Buyers
In highly competitive real estate markets, brokers and property managers need to use every trick in the book. Given the challenge that some prospects have in envisioning how a space can be designed to suit their needs, some property managers are building out spec suites to attract new tenants. Others remain wary of the commitment. Instead, they are using high-quality architectural renderings to show prospects what a space could look like. And unlike spec suites, renderings are easy to modify to better suit the ultimate tenants needs.
Likewise, architectural renderings can be used for to show prospective tenants or buyers what a planned building could look like once it’s fully built out. Given the high costs of construction noted above, many developers will not take on the risk of a new building (or major renovations) until they have secured leases for a significant portion of a building. Likewise, high-quality renderings can help get tenants excited about a building even before renovations are completed. Property management firm Altus, for example, asked us to render what a prospective renovation of the Minnetonka Corporate Center common areas would look like. The completed renderings helped them increase leasings within the building.
PlanForce designs both interior and exterior architectural renderings to help you achieve your strategic commercial real estate goals.
Architectural Renderings Bring Your Project to Life
Architectural renderings are an excellent tool in your strategic toolkit, because they provide a relatively low cost way to test design concepts. As we’ve seen here, renderings are also a great way to gain buy-in for your commercial real estate project. By presenting municipal officials, investors, and prospects with a compelling vision for your property, architectural renderings help you move the project forward. Have a project that you’re excited to see come to life? Contact us today to get started!