Office properties in the US are generally classified into four categories and these are namely Trophy Class, Grade A, Grade B and Grade C. In this section we discuss characteristics of Grade A Office properties, as generally defined by the real estate industry.

Grade A office spaces are generally newer properties built within the last 15 years with top amenities, and high-quality building finishes, construction, workmanship, materials and systems.

Older properties that are extremely well kept, renovated to maintain its stature, and feature abundant amenities may also qualify as Grade A Office properties, especially if they are located in areas with exceptional accessibility.

Grade A properties command the highest rents, and are usually occupied by prestigious tenants with above average rental rates.

Grade A spaces feature superior infrastructure, state-of-the-art technology capabilities, high-tech security, latest elevator and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.

During recession, Grade A buildings are generally more resilient as tenants from Grade B offices will be able to migrate to the former for almost the same rent.

The following table generally summarises the key differences between the classification definitions of US office spaces, with information drawn from various industry entities such as the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International, and Manulife US REIT.

Trophy class Grade A Grade B Grade C
Tenancy Household names in industry, usually first occupiers Prestigious tenants, usually first occupiers History of at least one previous tenant Long history of occupation by multiple previous tenants
Age <15 years <15 years 10-20 years >20 years
Quality Landmark architecture, renowned as prestigious buildings High quality construction and workmanship Average finishes, offers more utilitarian spaces In need of renovation, including basic building infrastructure
Features Indoor atrium and greenery, exclusive ancillary retail and F&B options. Indoor atrium and greenery, ancillary retail and F&B options. Large windows for natural light, and ceiling height of at least nine feet Outdated features and spaces Lacking in modern amenities
Services Personalised services concierge and security Concierge and security services May have attendants on duty during office hours No attendants on duty

This entry is part of REITsWeek's glossary of REITs and real estate investment terms.

By Ridzwan Rahmat

Ridzwan has been analysing REITs and business trusts since 2008, and personally manages a portfolio comprising mainly of SGX-listed REITs. He founded REITsWeek in 2013.

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