The Importance of Developer Experience in Commercial Real Estate: Understanding Construction Development Fees

Jun 19, 2024

At Atlantic Commercial Lending, we understand that commercial real estate (CRE) projects are complex undertakings that require a high level of expertise and experience. One of the critical aspects of any CRE project is understanding and managing construction development fees. These fees can significantly impact the overall cost and success of a project. Therefore, partnering with an experienced developer is essential to navigate these complexities effectively.

What Are Construction Development Fees?

Construction development fees encompass various costs associated with the planning, design, and construction of a commercial real estate project. These fees typically include:

Architectural and Engineering Fees: Costs for designing the project and creating detailed plans.
Permit and Inspection Fees: Fees paid to local government agencies for permits and inspections required throughout the construction process.
Legal and Professional Fees: Expenses for legal services, project management, and other professional consultations.
Construction Management Fees: Charges for managing the construction process, including overseeing contractors and ensuring the project stays on schedule and within budget.
Financing Fees: Costs associated with securing financing for the project, such as loan origination fees and interest during construction.
Contingency Fees: A budgeted amount set aside to cover unexpected costs that may arise during the construction process.

construction fees

Why Developer Experience Matters

An experienced developer brings invaluable expertise to a commercial real estate project, ensuring that construction development fees are managed effectively. Here’s why developer experience is a must:

Accurate Cost Estimation: Experienced developers have a deep understanding of the costs involved in CRE projects. They can provide accurate estimates for development fees, helping to prevent budget overruns.
Efficient Project Management: Seasoned developers know how to manage construction timelines and coordinate various aspects of the project. Their experience helps in avoiding delays and ensuring that the project progresses smoothly.
Regulatory Knowledge: Navigating the maze of permits, inspections, and regulations requires extensive knowledge of local laws and codes. Experienced developers are familiar with these requirements and can expedite the approval process.
Risk Mitigation: Construction projects inherently come with risks, such as unforeseen site conditions or changes in market conditions. Experienced developers are adept at identifying potential risks early and implementing strategies to mitigate them.
Quality Control: Ensuring high-quality construction is crucial for the long-term success of a commercial property. Experienced developers have established relationships with reliable contractors and suppliers, ensuring that the project meets high standards of quality.
Maximizing Value: A developer with a proven track record can identify opportunities to enhance the value of the project, whether through innovative design, efficient use of materials, or strategic project phasing.

Budgeting for Development Fees

One of the first steps in any project is creating a budget. Experienced developers know how to include development fees in their budgets. They use their knowledge to estimate costs accurately. This helps avoid surprises later on.

budget planning

Negotiating Development Fees

Negotiation is a key skill for developers. Experienced developers know when and how to negotiate fees. They understand the local regulations and can make a case for lower fees if needed. This can save a project significant money.

Case Studies of Successful Negotiations

Many successful projects highlight the importance of experience. For example, a developer may negotiate lower fees by agreeing to provide additional public benefits. These could include parks or community centers. This creates a win-win situation for both the developer and the community.

negotiation success


Construction development fees are a significant component of any commercial real estate project. Managing these fees effectively requires the expertise and experience that only seasoned developers can provide. At Atlantic Commercial Lending, we emphasize the importance of partnering with experienced developers to ensure the success of your CRE projects. Their knowledge, skills, and proven track record can make a substantial difference in the outcome, helping you achieve your investment goals while maintaining control over costs and timelines.

For more information on how we can assist you with your commercial real estate financing needs, contact us today. Let’s build a successful future together.