Do commercial real estate innovations actually exist?

Scanning a few posts last week and ran across some interesting comments that dealt with innovation. Innovation and commercial real estate.

Should those two things even be in the same sentence?

Let’s be honest, the two together do not exactly bring visions of business on the cutting edge. Well, maybe they should.

Areas of innovation

Property Marketing- Come on people can we stop the 57 e-mails I get each day with a Google map and an arrow pointing to a piece of dirt?  That’s it, that’s the best you can do?  Is there nothing else of use online or in your marketing department to “push” the message out?  How about stacking, geo-fencing, augmented reality, video, audio, 3-D integration, just to name a few.

Data- Three words, Realtors Property Resource (RPR).  Data sourced for every building in the country. Yes, that includes commercial buildings.  I said every building. Reggie I am still waiting for my call.  Still waiting.

Building Standards or Leed– This will change the values and perception of every property.  Not completely sold?  Tenants and users are starting to sue owners and developers who promised green and did not maintain the standards.

Mobile- The mobile environment is not kids with cool toys.  It puts the power of all data in the consumer’s hands in real time and place.  Commercial real estate equals data and space.

Broker ratings– Oh no! You and your personal brand will be on view for everyone to see.  Building owners will rate your services and put it online for everyone to see.  Don’t go online?  Hide!  No one will find you and no one will use or trust you.

The Building Itself– Every thing as in everything will start at the building.  Data, leasing stats, maintenance management, valuation, marketing, historical data, tenant history and comments, energy ratings, and on and on.

A little scenario

You’re sitting at home in front of your 3-D flat screen and decide to pull up Google TV. You remember a building downtown your buddy said he put under contract. You type in the address and click on the link.  There you find the exact location available via a 3-D map and a separate animation of the building itself.  Clicking on the building animation allows you to separate each individual floor and look at the tenants who occupy the actual space.  Clicking on separate floors you get a glimpse of the tenant mix and type of user in the building.  Hey, you can even read some comments from actual users and their experiences.

Further browsing allows you to see the complete historical data on the building itself.  The developer, contractor, management company, maintenance and facilities contractors and also their comments about the building, its use and their experiences.  You can see who bid on those services and your buddy the HVAC contractor can bid online in real time also.  Oh and there is your broker buddy’s info also with stats on him his firm and what they have done to market  and service the building. Sound too far fetched?

Can it happen?

These are a few areas and examples of needed innovation in commercial real estate.  What other possible areas or examples can you come up with?  I’ve said it many times. “There are a ton of smart people in the commercial real estate business.”  Where are you?

CC Licensed image courtesy of mojodenbow photo studio via

Duke Long


  • Great post – The ones who survive will adapt and the most important adaptation is new technology. Creativity, new uses, 3D modeling, – creative solutions will be the selling tool of the future.

  • Great article. I personally feel we are going to need some very creative, innovative thinkers that uncover value in various property types that are getting hammered by vacancy. Backfilling retail space (especially big box anchored space immediately comes to mind). Here in North Carolina we have dark big box centers that must be repositioned. I am personally very bullish on the concept of turning well-located vacant anchor spaces into Co-Working Spaces. This could help restore a vibrant atmosphere in centers where there are other tenants (restaurants, small retail, etc.) that have been left in the cold by the dark anchor space. The future workforce, (especially in my age bracket and younger (I am 33) will consist of entrepreneurs, start-ups, and other workers that mainly work from home or remotely. I think there is huge pent-up demand for very good Co-Working Spaces. It breaks from the “Executive Office Suite” mold and really creates a sense of community where ideas can be shared if so desired, etc. Rents can be by the day, week, month or year. I think this type of workforce would really desire space within a stone’s throw of existing retail shops and restaurants. I would be interested in hearing any thoughts on the model and it’s pros and cons. Regards

  • I’m working on it for you, Duke. Would love to chat with you sometime.

    Jeff, I happened to walk by this very concept the other day in small town, McKinney Texas. Loved the idea — as did my brother-in-law, who works from home and could see himself utilizing this type of co-working environment for rent by day, week or month.