Business park – definition and meaning
A business park or office park is a large plot of land with many office buildings. The businesses that occupy the offices are commercial enterprises, not industrial ones. Industrial companies may have their offices there, but not their factories. You will find no residential properties in a business park.
In other words, a business park is for offices, and not factories or people’s homes.
They are popular in suburban areas, where land is much cheaper than in urban areas. Building codes are also less restrictive than in town centers.
Most business parks exist near highways (UK: motorways) or main roads.
Business park developers usually plan out the whole project carefully. They build access roads, parking, and landscaped gardens. They also consider the positioning and usage of office buildings carefully.
Business park – rent or buy
Companies usually have the option of either buying or renting in business parks.
Some parks give buyers the option of joining an association where they become owners of park space. A fee covers the costs of basic maintenance, security, and landscaping.
Many business parks are sector specific. In other words, one may focus on hi-tech companies, while another has pharmaceutical and biotech businesses.
Companies like business parks because they are cheaper to buy or rent. They also have plenty of parking space, and may be appealing to customers. Suppliers like business parks because they can visit one place with many target customers.
Business parks and inner-city decay
Many people are against business parks. Like out-of-town shopping malls and giant supermarkets, they say they destroy downtown areas.
Towns and cities in the advanced economies have suffered from serious inner-city decay. Fifty years ago they were the hub of the community. However, today they are mostly run down.
Business park projects also encourage urban sprawl, opponents say. They make people commute by car rather than public transport. Subsequently, there are more traffic jams and pollution.
Most parts of a city have public transport routes to downtown but not to business parks. In other words, to get to business parks, you either have to go by car. If you use public transport, you may have to change buses or trains several times.
Considering a business park?
Do you want to move to a business park? Are you sure it is the best thing for your company? Consider the following:
- Does your business need to be near customers?
- Would your business benefit from being close to other similar companies?
- Does your business need to be near its suppliers? Do you subcontract work that needs close supervision?
- Would it benefit your business if all customers and employees had easy access to parking?
- What is your total office space requirement and how much can you afford?
Pros and cons of offices downtown
- Visibility: more people will see your company.
- Address: a downtown address may have more prestige.
- Public Transport: most transportation networks go to the city center. It will, therefore, be easier for your workers to commute.
- Services: you will be close to services. Your employees may prefer to be near places to eat, shop, and relax after work. Services are banks, post offices, shops, etc.
- Parking: this may be very difficult and expensive. In fact, in some large cities, it is impossible.
- Deliveries: delivering supplies is more complicated in town centers.
- Health: pollution and noise levels are high downtown.
- Space: your offices will be small because space is expensive downtown.
Pros and cons of a business park
- Parking: employees and customers will have no problem parking their vehicles.
- Driving: many employees, especially in the United States, prefer to commute by car.
- Nice offices: business park offices are modern and spacious. Most of them have pleasant gardens. Some even have ponds with ducks, swans, and other wildlife.
- Health: pollution and noise levels will be lower than in city centers. However, if there is a major highway nearby, it may be noisy.
- Security: business parks have CCTV security videos and guards patrolling. Burglaries, especially for smaller businesses, are less common in a business park than downtown.
- Charges: management and estate maintenance costs may be surprisingly high.
- What was there before? Some business parks are built on former derelict industrial areas. Customers and workers might not like this.
- Commuting: employees who do not drive may find it hard to get to work.
- Services: there are fewer shops and services nearby.
- Employee bonding: with fewer places to socialize after work, employees may spend less free time together.
Video – Arlington Business Park, UK
This video of Arlington Park, Reading, UK, shows us a business park. Not only does it have spacious offices, but also a nature trail and footpaths surrounding its 4-acre lake.
According to employee comments, they enjoy working in the park’s environment. It is well-connected with a major highway, a train station, and bus stops at its doorstep.