Stay in Your Zone: Understanding the Different Types of Commercial Property

Stay in Your Zone: Understanding the Different Types of Commercial Property

When you are looking for commercial property, understanding the zoning laws in your area is imperative.  Zoning laws are put into place to determine how a property may or may not be used.  This helps to prevent certain types of businesses from popping up in residential areas.  It also creates a balance that keeps competition healthy and fair to encourage a thriving market.  Zoning ordinances will vary from place to place, but the foundation is the same.  If you try to run a business out of a building that is not zoned for your industry, you may find yourself in a whole bunch of trouble.  To avoid unnecessary issues, read on to learn more about the different types of commercial property.

Office Space

Office space is a type of commercial property that is strictly reserved for office work (as you may have guessed).  It is typically broken down into the three sub-classes of A, B, & C.

  • Class A: A Class A property will be found in a highly desirable area with a lot of exposure.  Building construction will be of high quality and it will likely offer many upgrades.
  • Class B: With a Class B property, you will likely still find quality as far as the construction of the building goes, but the location will be far less desirable.
  • Class C: To put it simply, a Class C office space is anything that does not meet either of the above standards.


Drawing the types of commercial propertyIndustrial real estate speaks to a classification of commercial property that includes manufacturing facilities, assembly facilities, and warehouses.

  • Heavy Manufacturing: A commercial property that is used for heavy manufacturing will likely be used by much larger company who has invested a lot of time and money renovating the space to meet their needs.  These companies plan on spending a long time in the space.
  • Light Assembly: These spaces are often used for storage, product assembly, and/or office space.  They are typically much easier to reconfigure than the aforementioned manufacturing property.
  • Flex Warehouse: Includes a mix of both industrial and office space.
  • Bulk Warehouse: These are much larger than flex warehouses, typically between 50,000-100,000 square feet.  They are strategically located in close proximity to highways and other main roads, creating easy access for trucks to pick up and distribute finished products.


Multifamily property is really just a fancy name for apartment complexes.  Although there are many different types of apartment buildings, here are some of the more common.

  • Midrise Apartments: These commercial properties usually offer between 30-110 individual units, and run about 5-9 stories high.  They can be found in urban settings.
  • Garden Apartments: More common in suburban areas, garden apartments average 3-4 floors, with anywhere from 50-400 individual units.
  • High-rise Apartments: Typically found in city centers, high-rise apartments offer better views, multiple upgrades, a more desirable location, and oftentimes, around the clock staff.


Commercial property reserved for retail will house businesses with a product, service, or experience that is sold directly to consumers.

  • Strip Malls: A strip mall is usually home to smaller retail businesses and local vendors.  It may house family owned restaurants, nail salons, dry cleaners, et cetera.
  • Community Retail Center: A community retail center is considerably larger than a strip mall, and will boast one or more anchor tenants.  An anchor tenant is a larger retail tenant (such as Target, Home Depot, or a local grocery store chain) that will draw in consumers.  Smaller businesses will be peppered throughout.
  • Regional Malls: Even bigger yet, is the regional mall.  A mall will be home to a large mix of department stores, big box retailers (such as Barnes & Noble), and perhaps a few boutique shops or local vendors.
  • Out Parcels: An out parcel is a piece of land within a retail center that is reserved for an individual tenant, such as a fast food restaurant or a bank.


In addition to the above referenced properties, a tenant may also seek out land that is either zoned for their business purposes, ready to be re-purposed, or undeveloped.  There is also sometimes the need for special purpose commercial property, such as bowling alleys, churches, community centers, et cetera.

Find Various Types of Commercial Property in Tampa?

The best way find the right type of property for your business is to work with a devoted professional who has a comprehensive understanding of your local real estate market.  John Milsaps has spent the past decade learning the ins and outs of the Tampa Bay market, and he can’t wait to put that knowledge to work for you.  Specializing in both landlord and tenant representation, he confidently pairs business owners with the right strategic partners or buyers time and time again.  Take a look at some of his high-quality listings in the Tampa area, and contact him today to get your search started.