The term “swing space” refers to temporary office space, generally for the purposes of accommodating a tenant’s space needs while more permanent space is being constructed, renovated, acquired, etc. Situations arise in which companies may experience rapid growth; requiring them to add personnel quicker than their existing space can house them or the tenant can lease additional space. In other cases, a lease has been signed but due to lengthy build out timelines (up to 6 months now in Fairfax County) the tenant may require space before the construction is complete and ready for occupancy.
Most swing space options take the form of executive suite options, which have seen exponential growth in the past decade. Traditional options like Regus and newer, more modern options like WeWork provide tenants with flexible/short-term, turnkey office solutions with shared common areas and amenities. As a result, these companies charge a premium space, and while a godsend in the interim, these options do not make long-term economic sense particularly as space needs grow.
There is another, lesser known form of swing space… and surprise, it’s free! As stated earlier, situations can arise where a tenant’s build out cannot be completed quickly enough to accommodate their occupancy needs. In cases such as these where a lease has been signed, landlords may offer the tenant vacant space in the same building (or within another building in their portfolio in the same submarket) at no cost to the tenant. Leasing from landlords with a large square footage footprint within a particular submarket (either within the same building or portfolio) is a good strategy for tenants concerned with growth during the lease term. The terms and conditions of the lease would apply, particularly insurance requirements, but the tenant is not required to pay base rent until their leased premises are ready for occupancy. These options may come furnished but in many cases are not and in such cases tenants will need to pay moving costs to furnish the swing space and remove the furniture (and reinstall) when their permanent space is available.