Finding additional space on- and off-campus


The need for a unit to find additional space either in a University building or off-campus in leased space most often arises from a shortage of space at a current campus location; a short- or long-term need to relocate due to a construction project; or a poor fit of current space with the programmatic needs of a specific academic, adminstrative, or research function.

Units may initiate the process of finding additional space by first reviewing the contents of this page and then by filling out the request form below.

NOTE: Units seeking major renovations, building additions, or new buildings should follow the Capital Planning Process.

Request Form

Request Form for Additional Space (webform should be completed by unit budget administrator or designee)

Roles & Responsibilities

Though all space needs and requests are unique, the following three individuals/offices must be involved in the process of finding new space and remained involved throughout the entire process:

NOTE: U-M students, faculty, and staff are not permitted to contact anyone outside of the University regarding real estate and leasing matters, which includes contacting landlords or leasing agents regarding potentially available spaces.

SPG on Leasing & Real Estate Transactions

Per the Real Estate Transactions section of the U-M Standard Practice Guide (SPG 601.23), any matters related to the sale, aquisition, or leasing of space, property, or land must be handled through the U-M Real Estate Office, under the Office of the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

U-M students, faculty, and staff are not permitted to contact anyone outside of the University regarding real estate and leasing matters, which includes contacting landlords or leasing agents regarding potentially available spaces.

Process Overview for Finding Additional Space

Depending on the space needs, the process for accommodating a new space need can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more. Even though needs vary, the typical process for securing additional space, either on or off-campus, is outlined below:

  1. Unit budget administrator or designee fills out the Request Form for Additional Space.
  2. Provost's Office discusses and validates the need with the unit budget administrator and determines the funding source for the space and any renovation or construction needed.
  3. The unit, Provost's Office, and U-M Real Estate Office assess the need and potential solutions and determine if it should be addressed in University space or in leased space. The decision to seek additional space needs to be carefully made, taking into account a number of factors, including:
    • How much space is needed?
    • How long is the space needed and when is it needed by?
    • Where is the function for the space need best suited?
    • What type of unit funding is available to pay for the cost of additional space and the cost to renovate or construct additional space to accommodate the need?
    • What opportunities are there to partner with other units to meet the need?

The remaining steps describes the process if leased space was determined to be the best way to address the need. The process to accommodate needs in University spaces varies depending on who manages and administers the space.

  1. The Real Estate Office identifies potential leased spaces and arranges tours with unit representatives. The unit budget administrator identifies tour participants, which typically includes the programmic lead (e.g. faculty member or director), department administrator, and facilities manager.
  2. Once the tours take place, the unit budget administrator, in coordination with the Provost's Office, determines which leased space will best meet the unit's needs and institutional needs.
  3. Once the space is selected, the Real Estate Office informs the landlord that the University is interested in the space and begins negotiating the leasing terms.
  4. The Real Estate Office, Provost's Office, and the unit hold a kick-off meeting to define any renovations that are needed and the renovation budget. Unit representatives typically include the unit budget administrator, facilities manager, and programmatic lead.
  5. The Real Estate Office submits the renovation needs (also known as tenant improvements) to the landlord and negotiates the final lease terms and construction costs. At this point, the unit may need to adjust their needs to fit within the identified budget.
  6. The Real Estate Office submits the draft lease to the following units for review:
    • Office of the General Counsel
    • Risk Management
    • Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH)
    • Facilities and Operations
  7. The Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) reviews and signs lease on behalf of the U-M Board of Regents.

NOTE: Once the lease is signed, no changes can be made to the terms of the lease or scope of the construction without a lease amendment.

  1. Construction/renovation to the leased space begins. The unit representatives work closely with the Real Estate Office and with landlord and landlord's construction team.
  2. Once construction is complete or near complete, municipal inspections take place before the University is able to take occupancy.
  3. The unit occupies space.

For More Information

For additional information on planning for or funding a move, visit Resources & Tools.
For other space questions or needs, contact


Last reviewed: August 2020