Business Seminars offer lunch, learn

Free Service at the East Aldine District

EAST ALDINE – The District continued its Small Business Development Series last week, with a Seminar on the subject of Commercial Leasing. The speaker was a commercial real estate broker, Joaquin Orozco, a principal with the firm Resolut RE.

The audience of business owners, either current or prospective, also heard from two other speakers. East Aldine Economic Development Director Lance Dean briefly outlined two programs that the district has available for businesses. The Aptly named BIG program is grants for improvements to your property, such as facades, parking lots, signage or other visual elements of your location. The grants are a 50% match up to $10,000. Contact the District if your are interested. There is also a second program, which will issue grants for demolition and clearing of a site, with the same terms as BIG.

The seminar participants also heard from the federal SBA (Small Business Administration) representative, Valerie Maher, about a THRIVE program, which is an “intensive executive-level training program to accelerate the growth of high potential small businesses.” Maher spoke briefly, but will return on June 29 in the next session of this business seminar series, to speak on SBA programs and services.

Orozco spoke about steps in the commercial leasing process. The hourlong session covered topics such as site selection, documents required, negotiations, construction process, permitting, working with commercial brokers and landlords, and more. The information was presented in a clear manner for new business prospects, but also as a refresher for those already active businesses.

Orozco said a broker can help with optimum site selection, noting that near your home is often not the right place.

Ford documents required, he said you will need a Letter of Intent, Personal Financial Statement, Tax Returns, Bank Statements, Business Plan, and a Lease Agreement with the prospective landlord.

He advised that an attorney should always review your lease with your interests in mind.

Orozco explained rent, as base rent or cost per square foot, which doesn’t change during your lease, and “triple net” which includes common area maintenance, real estate taxes, and building insurance for the landlord, all of these likely to rise during the lease and passed on to the tenant. He said that leases are usually for a 5 year term, although they could be 1 or 3 years.

He said that a broker can help with negotiation between the tenant and the landlord, on issues such as base rent, free rent, improvement allowances, reserved parking, and signage.

In preparation for leasing the space, a tenant will require drawings, permits, a construction process, and a Certificate of Occupancy, all of which a broker can help with.

After the presentation, the audience asked questions, and some met later for personal advice.

Dean said that the Small Business Seminars took place at the East Aldine District office every two months, The first session this year was about Tax preparation, and the next session on June 29 will be about the SBA services. The seminars and lunches are open to all business persons in the community and are a free service of the district.