Rent right

Rent right

You don’t have to own a facility to make a major impact on your practice’s layout and design.
Jun 01, 2007

A leasehold is likely your best option if you don't have a lot of money to put into building a new facility or you're in an urban area where prime land just isn't up for grabs. With leaseholds, you can get the space you need to establish a new practice. And while there are certain restrictions, you can still put your imprint on the design.

New York Cat Hospital
143 Freedom Place
New York, NY 10069

Type: Feline exclusive
Square footage: 1,500
Interesting features: Located in Trump Place, luxury boarding, Web cam for monitoring hospitalized patients from any computer
Architect: Michael Davis, Michael Davis Architects

Coal Mine Animal Hospital
6740 S. Pierce St.
Littleton, CO 80128

Type: Small animal
Square footage: 2,986
Interesting features: Peepholes into exam rooms, recessed cubbies in treatment island, low exam room table for big dogs
Architect: Jeff Keast, Keast Architecture

Integrative Pet Care
2520 West Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647

Type: Rehabilitation
Square footage: 5,931
Interesting features: Brick Chicago loft building constructed in the early 1900s, heavy timber-and-post construction, hydrotherapy room
Architect: Chris George, Chris George P.C. Architect

Making the leap

Site selection: Be aware, be very aware
One big advantage of leaseholds is that you aren't left with the headache of a real estate transaction. So you can focus more of your energy on getting your new business off the ground. Leaseholds require a smaller financial investment than building from the ground up, too. "We wanted to invest the capital we had into starting our business—not real estate," says Stacy Nigrelli, co-owner of Integrative Pet Care in Chicago. Still, there are tradeoffs.

For one thing, if you decide to sell your business, you can't sell the building. You can only sell the practice and the improvements you've made. Drs. Erica Runkle and Jill Levy, owners of the Coal Mine Animal Hospital in Littleton, Colo., had concerns about putting down a big chunk of money for leasehold improvements on a building they didn't own. But financially, they realized it was the smartest thing to do, especially with all the competition the team faced in the area.