When Mike Gentry, Vice President of GCCI, Inc., thinks of tenant improvements, two words flash in his mind, “fast track”. “That’s what I like the most about the tenant improvement business, it’s on the fast track. You get in and you get out. That’s the way it is because the leases are set up for the tenant to move in by a certain date. If the finish date is the last day of the month, you have to be completely done with the project because the tenant is moving in and paying for the space on the first of the month, the next day.”

GCCI, Inc. is a general contractor that also does new construction, like the office building at 401 Healdsburg Avenue in Healdsburg. LeDuc & Dexter’s commercial department contracted for plumbing of the shell. “We are two months away from completing the shell and then we will do the tenant improvements for the offices upstairs, we will have six weeks to complete it. Someone else is doing the T.I. downstairs. New construction and T.I. are two completely separate markets, T.I. is very creative financially with no rule of thumb because of the lease agreements and the building owner will sometimes give incentives, a certain dollar amount per square foot to tenants for T.I.”

Because of the fast pace schedule GCCI must choose subcontractors suited for that type of work. “We like companies like LeDuc & Dexter – they are excellent. They can go in and perform and they’re on their own. We can’t work with companies we have to baby sit. All the subs have to go in and perform and work together.” Many of the retail stores that GCCI does tenant improvements for have schedules of 30 to 35 days for completion. “I prefer the T.I. jobs that are 10,000 to 15,000 square feet in size. They seem to come in waves, in 2001 we did 12, last year we did one, hopefully we’ll have more this year.”

The fast track T.I. business does have some speed bumps. “Right now we are waiting for changes to be made at 401 Healdsburg Avenue before we start the upstairs T.I. Sometimes while you are working on the T.I. project the tenant is making changes as fast as you can put them in. It’s usually less expensive for the tenant to pay for construction than it is to pay for a space that is not ready to move into yet. To be able to complete the changes and make the deadline you really have to be on the “fast track.”