The Next Generation Of Commercial Real Estate

How the new generation is breaking tradition.

“It is all that the young can do for the old, to shock them and keep them up to date.” George Bernard Shaw.

Interesting, that a quote from way back in the day inspires thought about youth and Commercial Real Estate.  Inspiring, not only to see, hear, converse with and watch the next generation breaking tradition, but creating a completely new Commercial Real Estate environment.


Look around the commercial real estate world in your community.  Who do you really see or hear? Ceo’s of the big brokerage firms? Coo’s of the development firms?  The one’s that are left that haven’t declared bankruptcy or headed for an island or beach some where?  Is all you really know about a particular firm or person the pr press release from the local business journal?  Now take a look at the next generation. You can find out where they live. You can find out who their family really is. You can find out what the real local commercial real estate market is. You can find out why they are the best possible resource for commercial real estate in your community.  The next generation looks at this as a normal everyday way of communication.  They want to be found.  They want to interact.  They want to be the authentic link between the client/community and the commercial real estate market

Creating the link

The next generation is actively creating communities online.  They are groups for business start-up, online incubators that help resource not only business knowledge but peer to peer networking.  They look outside the real estate industry into the creative community first for ideas and then business models that use online tools.  Embracing new strategies such as Blogging to reach out to the online community to share expertise, events, technical how to information and local information about commercial real estate.  The next generation looks to the online community to help them create the real commercial real estate market and a personal commercial real estate experience. They also are seeking out their commercial real estate peers in online communities like CreOpoint, Linkedin and Biggerpockets.  They are not really interested in the old school networks. They are creating their own.

Helping build the community offline

The new generation takes the online experience and translates it to the real world. Tweetups, Ignite, Barcamps ,Wordcamps, Meetups, Blog world, Live streaming Tech lunches, Social Media breakfast, Green Meets.  Is their any mention of the Rotary or the Local Chamber?  The next generation is pinpointing specific groups that are not only of interest to them but serve more meaningful purpose for the community.

Space, Place, and Use

Green as in green is gold. The next generation sees the old commercial building stock as non useable or inefficient for use at all.  How does the building function?  How does the building impact the community?  What real foot print and value is created by a particular space or use.  If it does not begin to follow or address these basic issues then it has no real value.  Repurpose, Sustainability, and Accountability to the community. The next generation demands that the structure or space itself has a meaning and value.

Data and information

Information is everywhere and no one controls commercial real estate anymore by controlling the flow of information and data.  The next generation gives the data out freely.  They want to client and community to be informed and educated about the market.  Giving it away for free and then being asked to pay to see it just does not work. Data is turning into a commodity and the next generation knows that providing guidance/analysis and customer service will be the key.


Technology is used a tool, used as an everyday seamless way to communicate and be productive.  Technology is not a fun little toy for games or a passing fad to be scoffed at.  Technology for commercial real estate is there to allow the consumer access to information on the go and mobile like never before.  Augmented reality allows the consumer to hold up their phone and see all historical sales, tax, building specs and leasing data in real time.  Geo-tagging or fencing allows the consumer to put their own information about the building, space or structure and leave it there for the next user to see. 3-D interactive leasing soft ware. Virtual CRM and leasing tenant representative software allow the next generation to work and create from an anywhere anytime mobile environment.

The next generation watches the collapse of the old ways.

Commercial real estate has become too inflexible to respond.  Why does it not just re-tool in less complex ways?  The next generation just sits back and watches as the industry struggles under the burden of declining margins, reduced or non existent volume.  Even when simple adjustments can be made they tend to be resisted, because it does not seem to benefit those entrenched in the structure of the past. They have grown accustomed to the old ways and don’t really know how to change.

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Duke Long