May 29, 2024

Marov Business

Business Blog

Build to Suit and Build to Suit Lease: Navigating Custom Commercial Real Estate

3 min read

In the dynamic landscape of commercial real estate, Build to Suit (BTS) leases represent a strategic approach tailored to meet the specific needs of businesses. These arrangements allow companies to design and construct commercial properties that perfectly align with their operational requirements, facilitated by developers. This article delves into the concept of BTS leases, exploring their significance, structure, and the considerations for both tenants and developers.

What is a Build to Suit Lease?

A BTS lease is a real estate agreement where a property is custom-built by a developer to meet the unique requirements of a tenant who will lease the property upon completion. Typically used for commercial properties, BTS leases are ideal for businesses that have specific needs not met by existing market offerings. This type of lease often spans long periods, ensuring stability for the developer and customization for the tenant.

Key Participants in a Build to Suit Lease

The BTS lease involves key stakeholders including the developer, tenant, and occasionally, third-party investors and brokers. The developer undertakes the construction and assumes the risk, aiming to secure a return on investment through the tenant’s long-term lease commitment. The tenant, on the other hand, gains a property tailored to their needs without the initial capital expenditure of construction.

Benefits of Build to Suit Leases

For Tenants

• Customization: Tenants can influence the design and functionality of the property to ensure it aligns with their business operations.

• Tax Benefits: Lease payments are often fully tax-deductible, providing a fiscal advantage.

• Capital Preservation: BTS leases allow tenants to invest their capital into core business activities rather than immobilizing it in real estate.

For Developers

• Stable Income: Developers benefit from a guaranteed, long-term income stream through fixed lease payments.

• Reduced Market Risks: With a tenant already in place, the developer faces lower risks related to property vacancy.

Financial and Accounting Implications

BTS leases require careful financial planning and accounting, especially under the latest Financial Accounting Standards Board regulations. These leases can impact the balance sheets of both tenants and developers, necessitating robust financial strategies and transparent accounting practices.

Types of Build to Suit Leases

BTS leases vary, ranging from single net leases where tenants pay property taxes, to more complex arrangements like reverse build-to-suit leases where the tenant takes on the role of the developer. Each type has its pros and cons, affecting the degree of financial and operational responsibility assumed by the tenant.

Due Diligence in Build to Suit Leases

Conducting thorough due diligence is critical in BTS projects. This includes assessing the suitability of the location, understanding zoning laws, and evaluating the developer’s credentials. Proper due diligence ensures that all parties are aware of their commitments and the specifics of the construction project.

Challenges and Drawbacks of Build to Suit Leases

While BTS leases offer numerous benefits, they also pose challenges such as:

• Long-term Commitment: Tenants are locked into lengthy leases, which may become restrictive if their business needs change.

• Construction Risks: Delays and cost overruns can affect the tenant’s operations and financial planning.


Build to Suit leases are a compelling option in commercial real estate, providing bespoke solutions that align with specific business needs. However, they require careful consideration of financial, operational, and strategic factors. Both tenants and developers must navigate these complexities to leverage the full benefits of BTS leases, ensuring mutual long-term success.

For more insights on Build to Suit and Build to Suit Lease strategies, follow industry expert Todd Maxwell’s latest analyses and updates.