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Phil Kabza
Senior Member
Username: phil_kabza

Post Number: 749
Registered: 12-2002

Posted on Tuesday, March 07, 2023 - 03:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Has anyone located a reliable, generally held standard for what constitutes "white box" tenant space?
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Rosa Cheney
Senior Member
Username: rdcaia

Post Number: 29
Registered: 07-2018
Posted on Tuesday, March 07, 2023 - 03:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I haven't come across that exact term before, but based on what experience I do have with other base-building levels of tenant fit-out for office and retail (warm shell; cold, dark shell, etc, and the various levels of drywall finishing required by base building or tenant work letters), I think "white box" would mean the base building has installed HVAC, lighting, ceiling, some sort of finished floor, and then demising partitions and exterior walls all have gypsum board finished and painted (...um, white).

The space would be move-in ready at a very basic finish level.

Edit: To add, I have never come across any specific standards as to terms and their level of finish. BOMA does not cover that for office tenants, and for retail, there is ALWAYS a formal work letter or letter of intent that outlines the relative scope of work between tenant and base building.
RH (Hank) Sweers II RA CCS
Senior Member
Username: rhsweers2

Post Number: 32
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Saturday, April 01, 2023 - 06:02 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Phil: It isn't "officially" a "standard" (by anybody), but years ago, I put together some "definitions" for Architectural service agreements for a buddy of mine who did a LOT of shopping center projects, to minimize misunderstandings later:


11.5.1 COLD DARK SHELL: enclosed space usually with “undefined” lease-areas (without demising partitions) and without interior finishes or ceilings, HVAC or electrical system, and typically with:
- exterior walls: insulated but without interior finish
- insulated storefront with entry door
- rear or 2nd exitway if space is over 1,500 SF area.
- Unfinished concrete floor – with slab blockout in rear for plumbing
- Sewer: main sanitary waste stub-in at rear for future connection by Tenant
- Water: 1” stub-in at rear for future connection by tenant
- Gas: Main service manifold & meter for future connection by tenant
- Electrical: empty conduit from main building panel for installation of
distribution panel and conductor by tenant

11.5.2 WARM-DARK-SHELL: as above, but ADD the following:
- HVAC unit: Rooftop mounted HVAC unit sized for one (1) ton capacity
per 350 SF (+/- per code) without ductwork distribution (with additional
capacity at tenant’s expense)
- Electrical: 100 Amp – 208/120V 3-phase tenant distribution panel
provided with conduit sized to accommodate 200 Amps. Conduit &
conductor provided only to installed HVAC unit (with no lights or power
- Gas: Connection to installed HVAC only

11.5.3 WARM WHITE-BOX: enclosed tenant-spaces with demising partitions but no toilet/plumbing facilities, PLUS the following added to Warm-Dark Shell above:
- Demising partitions: un-insulated partitions taped and sanded – ready for
painting by tenant
- Ceilings: 2 x 4 ft (typical) ceiling grid with acoustical panels
- Lighting: 2 x 4 fluorescent light-fixtures at 80 to 100 SF spacing –
connected to tenant distribution panel
- Electrical Distribution: 1 duplex receptacle at 20 ft spacing at demising
partition and rear wall, and at 12 ft spacing above storefront glazing
(per code minimum)

11.5.4 WARM WHITE-FINISH (or VANILLA BOX): Semi-finished tenant lease-spaces including all above, PLUS accessible toilet & plumbing facilities as follows:
- Accessible Toilets (Per ADA & code): Single uni-sex restroom with a single
water-closet and lavatory in tenant-spaces up to 1,500 SF, OR
two restrooms (men & women) when exceeding 1,500 SF (per code),
with associated exhaust fan(s), and water heater.
- Code-required plumbing facilities: Dual, accessible drinking fountain and
service-sink in each tenant-space (may not be required in spaces less
than 1,500 SF – to be verified)
- Partition walls around toilet(s) with an optional janitor’s closet and single
front/rear partition across lease space
- Doors: Primed hollow-metal frame & paint-grade wood doors typically to
toilet room(s), janitor’s closet and at front/rear partition (if provided) for
paint finishes by tenant
- Toilet accessories: Grab-bars, mirror, toilet-tissue- paper-towel- and soap-
dispensers and ADA signage
- HVAC distribution: supply and return ductwork in ceiling above installed
throughout finished space

11.5.4 TENANT-FINISH (TF) CONSTRUCTION typically includes construction of interior rooms or spaces with drywall partitions and doors, frames and casework fixtures. It usually includes floor and wall finish treatments (tile, carpeting wall-coverings or paint) and acoustical or painted drywall ceilings with lights. HVAC and electrical power distribution is provided to serve the finished rooms or spaces with the installed equipment as appropriate. Tenant-Finish Construction does not usually include procurement or installation of furniture or Food-Service Equipment.

The intent was to get this out early, so if anybody disagreed, they might say something sooner than later . . . hey, we can dream, right?

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