Managing Office Versus Retail Spaces

There are two types of property management that we work in at Rappaport: office and retail. The former involves managing an office building with tenants often being various companies on each floor or sub-divided among one floor, while the latter involves managing eye-level storefront retail spaces that usually form a stand-alone shopping center.

To understand a bit more about the differences between managing office and retail spaces, we spoke with one of Rappaport’s Senior Property Managers, Jamie Guenthner, who has been managing retail spaces with us since 2018. She has been in property management for almost 20 years, but most of her experience before coming to Rappaport was in office property management. While she would work in buildings where the first floor would have retail tenants, she had not worked with a building or space that was completely retail tenants until coming to Rappaport.

Once Jamie came to Rappaport her portfolio of properties switched from majority office management to a small portion of office management at Alexandria Commons. Otherwise, she works solely in retail property management between Festival at Riva, Springfield Commons, and Waldorf Marketplace.

When working in an office space, Jamie explains, “the landlord is responsible for pretty much everything…most of the calls we would get from office management were hot and cold calls where the tenants wanted temperatures changed.” As opposed to retail management, where the retailers handle a lot of those items themselves and the management is more about the exterior of the shopping center. “The biggest vendors are probably landscaping because the focus is not so much on interior, but exterior. There are a couple of times that janitorial services are used during the day, but most of the time that is done during the nightly sweeps.”

When asked about what makes property management so interesting, she says, “you’re never going to know everything, you’re always going to be challenged. There is always going to be some new situation that comes up that you think ‘Oh, I’ve never had to deal with that!’ For instance, when you come from office, you don’t get cars driving through storefronts very often!” Very different experiences can occur between retail and office property management; being able to adapt when handling various circumstances is key. Jamie describes how “you develop a network of people that you can call for different situations. I think it’s always important to have a nice group of people that you can bounce ideas off and help you out. Unfortunately, there is no step-by-step manual for what we do. It’s something different every day!”

It all comes down to the idea that there is a core management system for each type of property, but after those daily tasks are handled, properties fit into their own molds for what needs to be handled. Rappaport takes pride in how we manage our properties, which has been proven by our achievements and recognition, including receiving awards such as Washington Business Journal’s Book of Lists as a Top Property Management company. Whether it be a retail property where the exterior is the focus or an office property where interior is more often the focus, property management is all about customer service and maintaining spaces for our clients. At Rappaport, we strive to never compromise on this effort and ensure that all our properties are managed in the most thorough ways possible.

If you’re interested in seeing some of the properties that Rappaport represents and manages, click through to our Properties