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The Big Box Divide


As big box retailers are evolving and reducing footprints, building owners pave the way for smaller tenants to fill the void.

Services Involved

  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • 3D Scanning
  • Survey
  • Utility Coordination
  • Construction Documents

The Big Box Divide

Developers and Landlords are finding themselves left with massive spaces, far too large to attract a single new tenant. The solution? Repurposing and subdividing the large space to meet smaller, individual tenant needs.


With this, building owners are faced with how to effectively and efficiently split the square footage, utilities, HVAC, usage, flexibility, and more.


That’s where ms consultants comes in. We work with the building owners from the initial building survey all the way through coordination with utility companies for multiple tenants. Our experience with nationwide commercial accounts provides a one-stop-shop for these planning and design services.

Using 3D Scanning Technology to Efficiently Understand the Space

The first step of subdividing the space is identifying the exact dimensions and leasable square footage. While some spaces may have as-built drawings available for reference, accurate record drawings are a rarity in many older shopping centers.


When drawings of the space aren’t available, our 3D scanning capabilities provide significant value. The 3D scanning process uncovers the many unknowns about the dimensions and structural system of the building.


Our 3D scanner is capable of producing a snapshot of all visible building information in just one site visit. This reduces the need for multiple site visits and provides a point cloud of data for reference throughout the entire process. The point cloud is easily transformed into a 3D Revit model, which is then used to develop as-built drawings of the space. Conveniently, the Revit model can quickly be adapted to work within the AutoCAD platform as well.

Demising the Space

After the as-built floor plan has been developed, the next step is working with the developer to demise, or partition, the space.


Through our vast portfolio of multi-unit commercial clients, ms helps identify the individual space requirements based upon the desired tenant type. For example, a coffee shop will require approximately 2,000 square feet, while a small-format grocery store will be in the 16,000-20,000 square feet range. These are two very different tenant types with their own space and layout needs.


Having both architecture and engineering disciplines in house, our team is skilled in efficiently demising the space to maximize tenant square footage, split and reuse the existing utilities, and work within the structural limits of the facility.


As tenants are identified and leases are negotiated, ms can transform the demising plan into a full set of construction documents depicting the desired shell conditions.

Splitting the Utilities

All commercial buildings require electrical, gas (where available), water, and sanitary connections from external utility companies.


Demising a big box space into several smaller tenants brings up many questions about these utilities. For example, what size electrical service does a small-format grocery store require? How will the service be metered? Is the existing service large enough to accommodate the other tenants as well? If a new service must be brought to the building, will the transformer have to be upgraded? These important utility questions must be identified upfront in order to avoid rework and added cost to the project.


At ms, we have a team of experts that know the right questions to ask and the risks to identify when splitting utilities and working with multiple tenants on behalf of a developer or landlord. We propose cost-effective solutions to reuse and repurpose when possible, and identify large ticket items upfront to mitigate unexpected and unplanned for costs.

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