Reliable high-speed internet access is mission critical to businesses today. With rapidly changing technological improvements from video conferences to 3-D printing, a building’s connectivity must be vetted by tenants early in the site selection process as a key infrastructure element with the same level of due diligence as are utilities and HVAC. Unfortunately, there has been a lack of transparency as to buildings’ internet connectivity which can vary greatly. Moving to a building with inaccurate information about a building’s internet connectivity can lead to unforeseen costs and delays, not to mention loss of business. That, however, is changing in New York and soon in Chicago as well as other cities across the country.
Hurricane Sandy devastates the northeast. As recently reported on Bloomberg (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-09/lower-manhattan-quiet-as-sandy-shuts-one-third-of-offices.html) 33% of the 101 million square feet of lower Manhattan’s office space was inoperable as of November 7th, several days after Sandy’s landfall. Likewise, immediately after 9-11, areas of lower Manhattan were closed off for months. Manmade disasters and storms are not just limited to New York or the coastal areas. In 1992, Chicago’s Central Business District was closed for days due to a flood of an abandoned underground tunnel system. Falling into the trap – “it’ll never happen to me” – many tenants and landlords pay short attention to the lease provisions pertaining to a casualty. Outlined below are steps tenants can take pre-lease and during lease negotiations to safeguard their interests. Also addressed below is where there is no damage to the building, but the building is inoperable due to lack of utilities, access, etc. Most leases, however, do not provide the tenant with any rights if they are denied use of the building without building damage. Under a separate post, I address what tenants need to know about insurance.