How Much Does It Cost To Build A Retail Building

Retail buildings are a necessary part of the retail industry. A retail building is where customers will come to purchase your products, so it’s important that you have one that is not only attractive but also functional and cost-effective.

A retail building is a commercial structure that contains space for a business to sell its wares or services. The main components of a retail building are the exterior walls, roof, foundation, and interior structures like stairs and elevators.

If you’re considering building a retail building yourself, or even just curious how much it costs to build one, this article will tell you exactly how much it’ll cost and what factors go into those costs.


As you can see, location is a key factor in the cost of your retail building. It can affect your project’s price by increasing or decreasing materials and labor costs. In fact, location will often determine whether an area is suitable for a retail building at all. For example, if you want to build your shop on top of a mountain miles from civilization, you may be able to get away with using cheaper materials than if you were constructing in more densely populated areas where there are many other shops nearby.

Location matters because it affects both supply and demand for goods sold at your retail space. If people have easy access to grocery stores located close to their homes (and therefore don’t need one more), then chances are they won’t be interested in buying groceries from yours either so even though there might be plenty of demand for what you’re selling today (based on population density), its future sales could go down significantly as time goes on (since there will always exist some number of viable alternatives).

Additionally, if doing business means being accessible 24/7 while also having appropriate customer parking available outside during peak hours (when everyone wants what they sell), then those factors may impact whether or not someone decides against building anything at all at that particular location, especially if one cannot afford expensive architectural planning fees upfront.

Site Preparation

Estimate: $60,000 – $300,000

Site preparation is one of the most important and expensive parts of the construction process. It involves removing existing structures and grading the site to ensure proper drainage. If you plan on building a big store on your lot, this could cost several hundred thousand dollars for an average-sized project.

If you’re considering buying land to build your retail store on but aren’t sure what it’ll cost you in terms of upfront expenses, then consider these factors:

  • Site preparation costs can vary greatly depending on the size of your project; larger projects require more prep work than smaller ones do.
  • The type of prep work needed depends largely on what sort of land use is involved (residential vs commercial). For example, if it’s residential property then there may be no clearing required whereas if it’s commercial then there may be significant clearing needed before anything else can happen due to environmental concerns or other factors like zoning restrictions etc.

Windows and doors

Windows are an important part of any retail building. They can be used to add natural light to the building and create a unique look that will help attract customers. Windows should be placed in areas of high traffic, where shoppers can see them from outside the store. The size of the windows depends on how many products you want to display at any given time.

For example, if you have clothing racks near the front doors, then you may want large windows (such as those used for storefronts) so that customers can easily see what’s being sold inside your store without having to actually enter it first.

Construction Costs

The price of construction varies depending on the region where you live and your building’s size, type, and materials. In general, a small commercial building will cost between $150 and $250 per square foot to construct. Medium-sized buildings can range from $175 to $300 per square foot. And large retail stores or big box stores could cost anywhere between $200 to over $500 per square foot.

If you want to build a store with high-quality materials that include marble countertops, custom lighting fixtures, or other features that are customized to the space in which they’re placed, be prepared for those extra costs too.

Lighting and electric

Lighting and electricity is an important parts of a retail building. In fact, lighting can make or break a retail building. If the lighting isn’t done correctly, it will look like the store is closed and no one is working there. Electric costs can be sky-high if you don’t plan ahead for the energy needs of your business. For example, let’s say you have a bakery that uses refrigeration units for all your baked goods; if not for proper planning with an electrician and HVAC contractor at the very beginning stages of construction then you could end up spending $50k+ just on those two things alone. That’s why it’s important to get some professional advice before making any decisions on how much money should be spent on this aspect alone when budgeting costs related solely towards opening up shop once again after being closed down due to bankruptcy proceedings taken by previous owners who thought they could get away with cutting corners but instead ended up costing themselves dearly when it came time to come clean up mistakes made earlier during the construction period if only someone had told them beforehand what needed fixing before signing off final plans.


If you’re building a retail building, you’ll likely have to add a roofing system. This is a major expense that can quickly become cost-prohibitive if not approached correctly. For example, some materials aren’t as long-lasting as others. Your goal should be to find the best possible material for your money with regard to longevity and appearance, not just price.

Roofing is an investment in your business, but it’s also important for the longevity of the building itself.


There are four main types of flooring you can choose from, carpet, tile, wood, and laminate. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so deciding which type of flooring is best for your retail building will depend on your budget, the layout of your store, and any other factors that might impact your decision.

You should also take into consideration the amount of foot traffic that will be passing through your store on a regular basis. For instance, if customers are constantly walking back and forth through space then it may make sense to go with something more durable like hardwood floors or even tiles rather than carpeting. This way you won’t have to replace these surfaces as often due to wear-and-tear caused by heavy use over time (plus they look great too).


  • Plumbing is the hidden cost that most people don’t think about when they consider their building costs.
  • It is an important part of any retail building, but it can be expensive and time-consuming.
  • If you intend to get all your plumbing done at once, you might want to think twice about this decision.

Retail Building Costs by Square Foot

In general, the average cost to build a retail building is $250 per square foot. However, this figure varies greatly depending on factors such as the location and size of the building.

For example, constructing a 12-foot wide by a 40-foot long store in New York City would cost approximately $13,333. The same 12-foot wide by a 40-foot long store in California would cost approximately $10,000 for materials alone due to lower labor costs.

Since many retail spaces have larger floor plans (40 feet x 100 feet), the average construction price for this type of structure is higher than that of smaller units.

Architectural Fees

Architectural fees are a big factor in the total cost of building retail space. The average national fee for architectural work is about $150 per square foot, but this varies depending on location and the size and type of project. For example, if you are building your store on an existing site (as opposed to developing new land) then it will be cheaper because there will be less surveying required. Additionally, high-rise buildings usually require more complicated structural calculations than single-story structures. The architect’s fee will depend on how much time they spend working on your project as well as their experience level and educational background, a senior partner may charge significantly more than a junior associate or intern architect due to their expertise level and responsibilities at that firm.

Building Permits and Other Expenses

Building Permits and Other Expenses

Insurance is an important expense to budget for during construction. This can be a lot of money, especially if you’re building on a larger scale. You may also need to purchase insurance for your inventory. This will help protect against theft or damage to products that have already been purchased by customers but haven’t been delivered yet. If you’re planning on opening up shop in the city, it’s likely that you’ll need zoning permits from the municipal government as well. Depending on how big your business is going to be, this could cost anywhere from several hundred dollars all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars depending on what kind of permit you need and what type of infrastructure work needs to be done (such as widening roads). The good news is that once these fees are paid off they’ll stay paid off, they won’t keep coming up every time something changes with your business plan.

Approvals and Permits Checklist

When you’re ready to start construction, the first step is to make sure that you have all of the required approvals and permits. Your local municipality will be able to tell you what permits are needed for your project.

  • The fire department should be brought in as soon as possible, they’ll need to inspect the building plan and approve any fire suppression systems that are being installed, such as sprinklers or smoke detectors.
  • The health department may also need to review plans for plumbing and sewage systems before they’re installed in order to ensure they meet code requirements.

Financing Options for Retail Buildings

Many people think that financing a retail building is difficult. In fact, there are actually many options available to help you get the loan you need. There are various types of commercial financing companies with varying capabilities, so it can be hard to determine which one is the best fit for what you want. You’ll want to work closely with an expert who can help guide you through this process and find the option that works best for your business needs.

The two most common types of commercial loans include:

  • Commercial mortgage loans (CM) – A CM loan provides financing for new or existing buildings as well as land used for commercial purposes by businesses like retail stores or restaurants. If interest rates rise after construction begins, there may be issues with getting a CM loan because lenders will want proof that your business has enough equity in its real estate in order for them to consider investing in it; thus making sure to have sufficient collateral is important when applying for any type of commercial mortgage loan. Also note: if someone else holds title on the property being financed then debt service coverage ratios will have higher requirements than those without this feature.
  • Construction loans (CL) – These types may have shorter terms than other kinds but they don’t require an appraisal beforehand either since they’re designed specifically around building projects rather than purchasing ones like CM’s do.”

How long does it take to Build A Retail Building

The time it takes to complete a retail building depends on several factors. The size of the project is the first factor that determines how long it will take to build your new retail space. In general, most buildings can be constructed within six to nine months.

The second factor that affects construction time is the complexity of your project’s design and layout. If you have a complicated design or if there are multiple levels or store entrances in your building, then construction may take longer than average constructions do.

Cost To Build A Retail Building

The answer to this question depends on several factors. Here are some of the variables that affect the cost of your project:

  • The size and scope of your project (number of square feet, number, type of stores, etc.).
  • Whether you’re looking at a new construction or renovation project. New construction generally costs more than renovations because labor costs tend to be higher for newer buildings, but there are also many other factors that come into play here (e.g., land acquisition).
  • Whether you’re building from scratch or converting an existing structure into retail space, the latter can be significantly cheaper than starting from scratch due to the economy of scale.

The retail building industry is a lucrative one and there are many reasons why you should consider building your own retail space. These include cost savings, tax deductions, long-term returns on investments, and increased profits due to lower overhead costs. If you’re considering making this investment then it’s important that you do your research first so that you know exactly what type of business will fit best on the site before proceeding with construction.

The cost to build one depends on where it is going to be built as well as what type of materials you use for construction. For example, in Kansas City, Missouri you can expect to pay around $50 per square foot while in San Francisco you will pay more than double that amount at over $200 per square foot.

One way to finance your project is through an SBA loan which offers to finance up to $5 million with interest rates starting at 4%. You can also get help from The United States Department of Agriculture which offers loans up to 50% of project costs if the property being financed serves rural areas (less than 5 thousand people). Another option would be private investors who may want more than just capital return so they take partial ownership instead of just getting paid back their initial investment plus interest over time.

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