Representing Businesses and Individuals in Chicago and Northern Illinois

Commercial leases: often challenging, complex contracts

The celebrated poet Carl Sandburg once wrote a poem that now memorializes forever the vast and vibrant Chicago metropolitan area. Appropriately entitled “Chicago,” Sandburg’s ode to the city, its inhabitants and myriad industries highlights the metro’s pulsing and proactive spirit across wide-ranging realms. Including commercial real estate.

It is hardly facetious to suggest that the poem could have been titled something like “The City of Constant Construction” or “America’s Center of Commercial Building.” For, indeed, and when measured by virtually any empirical data, Chicago is unsurpassed in the United States for its frenetic pace of commercial construction activity and linked real estate transactions.

The key role of commercial leases in Chicago’s everyday life

Business principals and landlords across Chicago’s sprawling metro have a constant and close relationship marked by commercial lease negotiation and execution.

That is similarly true of landlords and individuals engaged in residential transactions as well, of course. It instantly bears noting, though, that a commercial lease distinctly differs from its residential counterpart in many respects.

For starters, it is routinely far more complicated. Here are a few representative examples of what materially distinguishes it:

  • Legal assumption that contracting parties are comparatively sophisticated and experienced, thus requiring fewer built-in contractual safeguards
  • Absence of standardized “boilerplate” provisions that often exist in residential leases, owing to varied lessee terms/needs from lease to lease
  • High degree of negotiability across wide-ranging subject matter
  • Term lengths that often greatly exceed those operative in residential leases

A proven real estate legal team often provides close and timely assistance to both landlords and business enterprises in commercial lease transactions.

The need to do so is logical and necessary. Proactive legal acumen exercised on behalf of a client is instrumental in promoting key lease objectives.

Commercial lease particulars that are often important

As noted above, variability in a given commercial lease is a hallmark of that contract. Transacting parties often focus closely on topics like these:

  • Rental amount (and, obviously, all the elements that it is based upon)
  • Rental term and renewal options
  • Factors and formulas relevant to rent increases
  • Parameters linked to assigning/subletting
  • Lessee exclusivity (an often key focus where business rivals might seek to rent adjoining space)
  • Improvements and modifications, and party responsible for assuming costs

A seasoned commercial law legal team can help mitigate the challenge and ensure a transactional result that optimally promotes a participant’s best interests.