From the Editor: Swimming in Oceans of Information

Summer 2019 Issue
By: Jennifer LeFurgy, Ph.D.

The digital revolution is shifting how we relate to each other and the world. As with other revolutions, rigid hierarchies give way to the power of the networked individual.


Jennifer LeFurgy

Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and Wharton professor, recently observed that a teenager with a cellphone can now reach more people than a corporate communications executive. We have seen the instantaneous power of this transformation in our personal lives through our use of ride-sharing companies, digital assistants, streaming entertainment, two-hour delivery and, for better or worse, social media.

The commercial real estate industry is now also beginning to experience the effects of the digital revolution. The electronic spreadsheets that replaced paper ledgers are now losing ground to integrated platforms that automatically collect and analyze large amounts of data. Moreover, much of this information is supplied by individuals. Building owners and operators, brokers and developers are becoming more attuned to the needs of the end user by interpreting the multifaceted data on how tenants use space. No longer are decisions about the built environment solely coming from the top down; employees are shaping the trend for more flexibility, connectivity and variety in the workplace. Office and, interestingly, warehouse space is becoming increasingly amenitized to assist tenants in retaining their employees.

The proliferation of instant information and the power of the individual will continue to reshape not only our daily lives but also our business decisions. This issue of Development magazine features stories that examine some of those changes.

In future issues, we look forward to sharing your company’s innovative ideas in these exciting times.

Stay informed,
Jennifer LeFurgy, Ph.D.

In This Issue

The sheer volume of digital information generated in the commercial real estate industry can be daunting, but companies that can sort through and make sense of “big data” are poised to be big winners in the future.

New Albany, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, has developed a planning process that makes the community extremely attractive to both businesses and residents.

Interest in golf has plummeted in recent years, leading to the closure of hundreds of courses. One abandoned club in Florida is being transformed into the largest speculative industrial project in the state’s history.

Dynamic, open-air gathering spaces can play a vital role in the design of real estate developments by increasing dwell time at a property and encouraging people to return to it in the future.

5G, or the fifth generation of wireless technology, will be the force powering the rise of smart cities that run on sensors and the internet of things (IoT), and commercial real estate professionals need to be prepared for this radical change.

Going “green” can be a profitable strategy for hotels, and not only for “eco-lodgings.” Beyond the savings in operating costs, many customers are happy to pay a premium to stay at these properties.

A new report from the NAIOP Research Foundation examines the economic impacts of commercial real estate in Canada by examining data related to gross domestic product, employment and labor income.

After a short respite, construction costs in the U.S. are starting to climb again thanks to rising wages for workers, along with increasing prices for materials.

NAIOP’s Industrial Space Demand Forecast for the first quarter of 2019 predicts that demand will stay strong, but level out.

To attract a diverse workforce, companies in the CRE industry must develop and enact concrete strategies, according to panelists at a recent NAIOP event.

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