What Is Build-To-Suit Development and How Can It Benefit You?

New store development is integral to the relationship between a franchisee and franchisor. Whether you are targeting to build two new stores or 200, it is imperative to have a development strategy that not only fulfills your obligations but also highlights your priorities as an operator.

For concepts and franchisees who are less experienced in the real estate and construction management arenas, partnering with a build-to-suit (BTS) development team will not only spark immediate growth but will also ensure that capital and key resources aren’t diverted away from your concept and people at the expense of a growth spurt.

What Exactly Is Build-To-Suit Development?

Build-to-suit development allows a prospective tenant to partner with a real estate developer who will buy the land and build a new space configured specifically for the tenant’s use. In exchange, the tenant will enter into a long-term lease agreement. This is a popular and effective strategy for users such as quick service restaurant chains that have very particular, single-tenant real estate needs. While it is very easy to focus only on the upside of securing a customized, tailor-made space for your business, the benefits of partnering with a BTS developer go far beyond. Here are a few of the most impactful benefits you should consider before starting your next project:

What Are The Benefits Of Build-To-Suit Development?

1. Growth Without the Stress of Financing

A build-to-suit development partner will bring the benefit of comprehensive financing to the table for you. In other words, the developer funds all costs associated with site selection, land acquisition, construction management, vendor management and more. That means no friends-and-family financing, no bankers, no exorbitant equity contributions and no construction loans. Instead, your capital and energy can be allocated toward equipment, marketing, operations, and staff. But buyer beware: A BTS partner that does not have your financial interests in mind can do more harm than good. Be sure to ask questions and hold your developer accountable to the highest standards of transparency, communication, and budgeting throughout. More than just your rent depends on it!

2. Site Selection Expertise and Market Strategy

While comprehensive financing is a valuable perk when teaming up with a BTS developer, a quality partner will stand out in other areas as well. Take site selection, for example. All the money in the world can’t grow a business if you don’t have a market-specific site selection strategy. Here is an easy litmus test that you can use to separate a hit-and-run transactional BTS developer from a partner who is clearly prioritizing your best interests. As you analyze sites and pick trade areas to build in, study the types of properties you are being shown. Are you getting a holistic view of a market? Is your developer demonstrating they know who your customer is and exactly where they are located? Are you getting a quality mix of on-market and off-market opportunities that space properly for long term strategic growth? Or are you only being shown properties that your BTS developer happens to own and is incentivized to liquidate? A long-term BTS partner will show you who they are and what they stand for based on their approach to site selection. The good ones know your brand, know your customer, and will map your path to intelligent, sustainable growth.

3. A Fully Outsourced Real Estate Partner

Site selection can sometimes trick an owner or operator into thinking new-store development is easy, or at least manageable, even with limited resources. If real estate isn’t your fastball, don’t fall into this trap. There are myriad tasks, pitfalls, and circumstances throughout the development process that can and will distract you from other key pillars of your operation, particularly your people and your concept. A reliable BTS partner will act as a fully outsourced real estate expert and see your project through so that valuable resources aren’t diverted, distracted, or worse, ignored. Whether in the due diligence phase, construction management phase or vendor management, at some point you will have your head in your hands saying, “I wish I had somebody to manage this for me.” Your people and your concept do not have to be pushed aside in order to pursue new-store growth…even at scale. A quality BTS development partner will not only navigate these tasks seamlessly and efficiently but completely take them off your plate:

  1. Bidding general contractors
  2. Managing subcontractors
  3. Managing architects and engineers
  4. Due diligence reporting – Geotech; Survey; Title; Environmental; Etc
  5. Permitting
  6. Selecting the most efficient construction type – Stick build; Panelized; Fully Modular
  7. Ordering equipment
  8. Installing equipment
  9. Managing all FF&E vendors
  10. Invoicing and timely payments
  11. Construction-related hurdles
  12. Utilities
  13. Inspections
  14. Legal
  15. Corporate approvals/reporting
  16. Brand standard oversight


Plaza Street Partners is re-defining the relationship between single-tenant retailers and developers using a common sense, tech-enabled approach to process management. Are you a Plaza Street Partner? Learn more at