Ten Long-Term Commercial Real Estate Trends for 2018 that You Probably Aren’t Considering, and that Your Smart Competitors Probably Are. Guest Post: Joseph Stecher.

1. Traditional real estate owner-operators are beginning to bend to the power of real estate disruptors. Witness #Rudin Management and #Boston Properties co-developing the 675,000 square foot #Dock 72 in the #Brooklyn Navy Yard with #WeWork, while #Airbnb develops a 300-unit apartment building called Niido Powered by Airbnb next to Disney World in partnership with Newguard Development Group and funded by #Brookfield Property Partners and #Silverpeak Real Estate Partners. WeWork is occupying about 222,000 square feet at Dock 72, operating 35,000 square feet of building-wide amenities, and will be offering managed services for very large “enterprise” tenants, not just for hoodie kids looking for a laptop-bench and snacks. I’m curious how the three companies will manage competition for tenants.

2. With #Amazon perhaps tilting to the East Coast for its #HQ2 and the #Technion – #Cornell Campus on Roosevelt Island turning Long Island City into New York’s Kendall Square, we could see a real balancing of tech power between the East and West Coasts. Not tomorrow, but possibly sooner than we would have thought even one year ago.

3. #Seth Pinsky at #RXR on Liberal land-use bipolarity (my phrase not his): “You cannot be against density and for affordable housing.” They go together.

4. #Will Silverman of #Hodges Ward Elliott: “I’m calling it on densification”, meaning office tenants are going to start renting more space per employee, that the trend toward benches and bean bags may finally be heading toward…. “de-densification”. He pointed out that total employment and office employment are at record numbers, but total leased space is not. If he is correct, the looming overbuilding of top-end office space in New York may be overstated, as tenants start taking more space per employee, and occupancy grows with or with or without job growth.

5. #Bob Knakal of #Massey Knakal and #Paul Amrich of #CBRE said (at different events) we are seeing more “dispersion of markets” in New York than ever before, meaning tenants (and investors?) will look in many more markets than when it was just Midtown and Wall Street, and as a result there is less of a pricing difference among these markets.

6. I’m not sure I agree with this one, but what we perceive as the end of retail real estate may actually be a massive realignment of how we use space – retail, industrial, office and residential with multiple new retail nodes, some of which may make it and some of which may not.

7. #Zach McHugh of #Sitex used the term “multiple ground floors” to describe a desired feature of urban-infill multistory industrial, by which he meant that the buildings are built (or renovated) with ramps so that trucks can drive up a story (or more) and unload and store all on the same level, as opposed to driving into the building and then waiting for an elevator to free up. If you’ve ever waited for your car in a busy multistory garage the benefit of multiple ground floors will be obvious to you. Have a look at this excellent visualization of a new #Prologis building in Seattle. (3 minutes) http://bit.ly/2DyGZ3s

8. The next big changes in CRE Tech will result from successful application of AI and advanced data analysis, blockchain, AR/VR, and maybe Robots. They will replace Social, Mobile, and Cloud applications as main drivers (think first generation: #VTS, #Honest Buildings, and #RealtyShares among others). #Bloomberg Russia went from 25 translators not that long ago to 4. A CIA security breach? No, AI got really good at translating English to Russian. So office leasing may be a battle of de-densification increasing occupancy, and AI decreasing it.

9. Great quote, I think from #Mark Goldberg of #Index Ventures: “Best tech does not win, best distribution wins.”

10. If de-densification does not happen, it may be very scary for traditional office buildings. #Jeff Blau at #Related pointed out that one employee per 100/sf does not just mean more hoodies. In very large floorplate buildings it can mean long queues and overload for elevators, toilets, and HVAC. Some of the systems in certain traditional office buildings cannot be retrofitted to balance demand, and no amount of ping pong tables, bean bags, and snacks can bridge the gap. Look out Park Avenue and Sixth Avenue.



LinkedIn: Joseph Stecher.


  • Sorry to be persnickety, but the original post on LinkedIn contained this disclaimer: I arrange equity financing for real estate entrepreneurs, and advise technology companies serving the commercial real estate community. FINRA requires me to say that this blog is neither an offer to buy nor to sell securities, and I have no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned here, except that RealtyShares is a client.