What to Consider if you Lease Space in an Historic Building

historic building.jpgThere are all types of entrepreneurs starting businesses in Minnesota today. Regardless whether you started your business in a garage or behind a desk, you may eventually have to move into a larger space.

Location may be your top priority once you decide to lease commercial property. However, there are other factors to consider when it comes to finding what’s right for your business. For instance, if you want to lease space in a trendy historic district, be prepared for some potential obstacles and challenges you might not face if you were leasing in newer construction.


If you want to renovate a space, make additions, or install modern amenities, you may be shouldered with a considerable financial burden. Not only can you be responsible for the cost of these renovations, you could also be required to cover the additional expenses incurred by efforts to preserve historic features. For instance, you might decide to improve the heating only to find out you cannot add ductwork to the space, requiring costly workarounds.

Attracting foot traffic

If you open your business in a historic building or district, you could be very limited in how you attract foot traffic. You might be prohibited from displaying neon or large signs, for instance. This can be something to consider, especially if your business will rely heavily on foot traffic.

Limited parking may be another drawback.


Before historic properties are altered in any way in Minnesota, state laws dictate that both the State Historic Preservation Office and the state department  review the proposed actions and determine if they can be completed. These requirements can lead to delays and disputes that business owners would rather avoid.

Talking to an attorney

These and numerous other details regarding leasing commercial space in an historic building or district should be detailed in a lease agreement, so it is crucial to be diligent about reading and understanding the leases for these properties. Business owners who jump in without the help of an experienced attorney can find themselves dealing with legal headaches and challenges they would have preferred to avoid.