This section is from the book "Practical Real Estate Methods For Broker, Operator & Owner", by Thirty Experts. Also available from Amazon: Practical Real Estate Methods for Broker, Operator, Owner.
The manager, however, must not be considered a hopeless antagonist to artistic effect. No one appreciates better than he the value of exterior and interior ornamentation. But there is a limit to the use of art. A good exterior, to be sure, affects the rent. Of this exterior the most important part is the entrance and the first two or three stories. Above these, so long as the building is fine in appearance, the details of exterior grow less important because few people see them in our canon-like streets. In the case of buildings like the Singer Building or the Metropolitan Tower, the same standards of criticism do not apply. Such buildings - the home offices of great companies - are built more as men build their own homes - with a view to what people generally will think of them. In other words, they are constructed to have certain advertising quality, to be wonders for sightseers, landmarks in their city. Here decorative costs are not limited strictly to a prospective rental basis. And yet there is no question that the very advertising quality of such buildings enables them to demand higher rents. For it is undoubtedly of advantage to a tenant to be in a building known all over the world, where the address "Blank Building, United States," is sufficient. Moreover, the fact that every one has seen a picture of these buildings and knows that they are among the finest office buildings in the world, gives a tenant prestige when he writes to some one out of town. Also the tenant shares in the reputation of his landlord, for people are certain that such buildings would not tolerate tenants who were working dishonest mail order schemes. But in buildings which make no endeavor to become architectural wonders of the world, ornamentation must be kept in proper ratio, be as fine as rental profit permits. The same conditions apply to entrance halls, elevators, hallways. Simple though beautiful decorations are wise in one building, expensive marble, bronze, brass, mural work are necessary in another. Economy or lavishness can be carried too far.