Is Waterfront Property the Right Fit for Your Business?

The Risks, Benefits and Implications of Commercial Waterfront Property


waterfront property The appeal of waterfront property is a strong pull – for residential owners and business owners alike. The “wow” factor for impressing clients and the personal satisfaction of glancing over your desk to see the sun glinting on the waves are appealing. But before you commit to working on the waterfront, be sure you’ve considered all the possible implications for your company’s future.


Be Aware: Potential Risks of Waterfront Property for Commercial Office Space


Since hurricane Sandy decimated New York City’s waterfront in 2012, renewed attention has been given to the implications of severe weather and flooding on waterfront development. FEMA’s building requirements for the national flood insurance program have become much more restrictive, and insurance costs have soared in many areas. These considerations may impact the costs associated with operating a waterfront property.


Among the key questions to ask when considering waterfront property is the extent of storm protection the building has in place. Was the building constructed or significantly renovated since 1974, the year in which FEMA adopted the National Flood Insurance Program? If so, there are specific flood protection building requirements that should be in place in order to be eligible for flood insurance coverage. Be sure to check on these details with the building owner or seller’s real estate broker.


In the case of severe weather or flooding, other considerations will impact waterfront property – especially businesses. These include whether the companies’ have disaster recovery plans in place, and whether their technology systems are structured in a way that allows the business to continue with minimal interruption – because at least 25 percent of businesses that close after events, like a flood, never reopen (The National Flood Insurance Program). While most businesses have begun using off-site data storage and backups, make sure your company’s IT department has taken these potential risks into account, and that the business has a disaster recovery plan in place.


Unexpected Benefits of Locating Your Business in Waterfront Property


In addition to the personal satisfaction of achieving the “office with a view”, waterfront property can provide specific tangible benefits for commercial business. Depending on the type of business, easy access and adjacency to local ports may be a strong benefit for some industries, including import/export or marine-based organizations such as seafood processing or shipbuilding.


With many urban centers undergoing a massive reinvestment into their formerly industrial waterfronts – such as Boston’s Seaport District and Norfolk’s Waterside revival - new office properties in these hot spots often carries cache and the promotional benefits of locating your business in an “up and coming” new area.


Tourism-based and retail businesses will also benefit from the surge of tourists that converge on waterfront destinations, particularly in warmer climates.


Questions to Ask When Considering a Commercial Waterfront Property


  • Has flood mitigation planning has been undertaken, and how is the building floodproofed?
  • What kind of flood insurance will your company require, and what will it cost you?
  • As a tenant or building owner, will you have access to any adjacent docks or ports for business use (if relevant)?
  • Are there future development plans in the area or a regional master plan in place that may predict future growth and/or property value appreciation?


Currituck County, North Carolina has direct access to the Atlantic Ocean, Intra Coastal Waterway, and several bays, as well as the Outer Banks, which provide a guaranteed supply of tourists and visitors every year who deliver opportunities to manufacture, sell, and maintain products, services and equipment.  In addition, the Port of Virginia has the deepest ports on the east coast and can handle cruise ships, cargo ships, and other large vessels.

Contact us to find out more about the benefits of this region’s waterfront property and available commercial properties.

For tips on how to help you clients see the long-term benefits of waterfront or other sites, get a free copy of our eBook for commercial real estate professionals.


Commercial Real Estate Market | Closing the Deal

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