It’s easy to think that laundromats can be readily located into most retail spaces by simple installation of personal property (washers, dryers, coin & soap vending, and maybe an extra utility sink). But much more than personal property is involved in laundromat facilities:
- Much greater electrical capacity than typical retail use.
- Much greater plumbing capacity than typical retail use.
- Heavy security door and one-way glass for the on site office, to protect cash/coin storage for replenishment of change machines.
- Extra thick concrete washer pads to mitigate extreme rotational stress of commercial washers.
- If a basement or lower floor underlies the laundromat, often extra structural steel is needed below to stabilize the floor to protect against washer rotational stress.
In most of these properties, the extra real estate components are tenant improvements. The rub for assessors is that the cost approach recognizes the improvements, but when using the income approach, you can’t always assume that the next tenant will be another laundromat.