Today’s tenants demand a lot from their office spaces, particularly when it comes to technology. An office space can do wonders in attracting and retaining talent with the tech amenities being at the top of many tenant’s wish lists. Here are six tech amenities all office tenants see as must haves.
Applications Hosted in the Cloud
The Cloud is what propelled the flexible work generation. This allows people to work from virtually anywhere that has a WiFi connection. This is a huge benefit for those in commercial real estate because these professionals are no longer forced to download documents in order to edit them. Brokers and other CRE professionals can work within a document in real-time and collaborate for increased accuracy.
Technology that Encourages Collaboration
Many office tenants are looking for plug-and-play options. They don’t want to search for cords or navigate setting up projectors in meeting rooms. An office that is set up for convenient meetings makes it easy to run quick collaborative sessions that don’t require a formal setup. Along with smart screens and projectors, tenants are also looking for technology adds like built-in video conferencing and auto-tinting privacy walls.
One of the most highly sought-after office amenities is excellent connectivity. This means top of the line WiFi because professionals want to know that they can accomplish their work in a timely manner. They want connectivity that is reliable, speedy, and works so that they are not spending time waiting for a document to upload or waiting for the internet to connect.
Remote Environmental Controls
Employees love to customize their workspaces to make it their own and to adapt to their exact wants and needs. The days of coming into the office and freezing are over as more offices transition to a more flexible model that increases professionals’ comfort levels. Professionals want remote environmental controls, so they can control their temperature and lighting based on the season, task, time of day, etc. Employees can use their mobile phones to turn down the lights or turn down the AC for example.
You can enhance your office by promoting online community boards to create a sense of community, especially in large office buildings. This is a way for community members to stay up to date on everything happening in the building as well as to make new connections across teams and offices to enhance work relationships. This community board allows people to post important information, make special announcements, and ask questions and communicate.
Parking can be a huge pain in many urban settings. Many office tenants want to see where they can park and how many spaces are open, which is a new piece of technology that both older and newly developed office properties are starting to implement. The light hanging above the parking spaces show red or green and the marquee on each level will list how many spaces are available on that level.
Amazon sent shockwaves throughout America and abroad when news broke of the e-commerce giant’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market. The $13.4 billion deal was the first of its kind and showed a leap of faith from traditional shopping trends to a new, technologically advanced horizon. Amazon currently has a variety of grocery based options such as AmazonFresh, Prime Now, Prime Pantry, Subscribe and Save and of course, Whole Foods.
With the implementation of these new digital grocery options, Amazon has given its Prime members, all 100 million of them, access to new, more convenient options. Though upon the inception of this virtual grocery idea, consumers were hesitant to purchase perishable items such a dairy, meats, and vegetables, the number of these items being bought is steadily rising.
Though grocery stores seemed an untouchable commodity, a business model unchanged by the time, the rising success of digital grocery shopping is changing that rapidly. Humans need to eat to sustain life, and food retail is a $5 trillion business. Though Amazon has broken barriers with their revolutionary technology, online grocery sales are expected to continue to increase to over $300 billion by 2022. According to recent studies, more than 50% of consumers are likely to order things like food, supplies, and groceries online. That same study concluded that only 24% of those consumers would go to a local retailer or supermarket.
With the aforementioned numbers in mind, it is clear that traditional grocery stores and retailers who do not stay relevant are primed for failure – no pun intended. So how will these more traditional retailers remain successful? Some grocery retailers are partnering with outside delivery companies such as Instacart, which allow customers to browse grocery store items with an app and have them delivered by an individual to their location of choice within and hour, or at a pre-selected time.
Larger retailers like Walmart and Target have been actively working to improve their delivery capabilities, following Amazon’s model. A variety of smaller, independent grocers are thriving by selling locally grown produce, specialty items that are otherwise hard to find, regional items, and holding interactive class.
Amazon , however, continues to be at the forefront of the digital grocery advancement, they recently have continued to expand Prime to a variety of foreign countries such as Mexico, Luxembourg, and Singapore. In Seattle, Amazon created its first Amazon Go store. This store includes grocery and food retails. It uses technology to ditch checking out entirely. Consumers can literally walk out of the store and be automatically, virtually charged.
With advancements like this underway, it is important to for retailers, start up companies with fresh ideas, and traditional stores to put their efforts into overtime. As the world becomes more virtually connected, and possibly disconnected from traditional interactions. customers are willing to do what it takes to save time. With schedules busier than ever, customers are willing to pay higher prices for convenience. So it is important for grocery stores to stay relevant, and innovate in this time of evolution and change.
Opportunity zones have been a hot topic in commercial real estate recently. You may be asking “what exactly are opportunity zones?” If you are a savvy real estate investor, here are four things you should know about opportunity zones, beginning with the textbook definition for what they are.
What are Opportunity Zones?
An opportunity zone is an economically-distressed community where investors can earn preferential tax treatment for pouring capital into in. Post-recession, some communities simply did not recover, and these particular communities have become opportunity zones. These zones are approved by the federal government and remain opportunity zones 10 years after they have been designated as so. During this time, investors have the option to defer taxes on their capital gains as long as they invest those gains into an opportunity zone fund. These funds put at least 90% of the pooled capital toward developing these opportunity zones.
This has intrigued interest from commercial real estate clients because of the increased investment opportunities and the guarantee that if the investment is in place for 10 years, the appreciation on the opportunity zone investment is excluded from future taxation.
When Should You Invest in an Opportunity Zone?
Investors are attracted to new opportunity zone investments because of the tax deferment and exclusion factor. Although, the tax reduction benefits are dependent on how long the investment is kept. If the opportunity zone fund is maintained for 5 years, there is a 10% exclusion for this deferred gain and in 7 years 10% turns to 15%.
An investor will become eligible for an increase in the basis of the fund’s investment equal to its fair market value if the investment is maintained for 10 years or more on the day that the fund investment is either exchanged or sold. This is why it is important for investors to understand that the sooner they choose to invest in opportunity zones, the faster this investment begins generating ROI.
Where Should You Invest?
- Oakland, California: West Oakland, Uptown, Jingletown, Coliseum Industrial
- LA: Downtown and South Los Angeles
- San Jose: Market Almaden, Washington Guadalupe, East Northside, Jackson Taylor, Mayfair
- San Diego: Golden Hill, South Park, Barrio Logan
- Seattle: Beacon Hill, International District
- Portland: Pearl District, Central Eastside
- Phoenix: Downtown, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa
- Nashville: East Bank, Five Points, 12 South, Edgehill
- Atlanta: Bankhead, Grove Park, English Avenue
- New York City, Brooklyn
Every opportunity zone will have different needs, so the best option is to find an area that has needs in a sector you are familiar with.
How Should You Invest in Opportunity Zones?
When investing in an opportunity zone, you should consider expanding upon your traditional ideas and putting your capital gains to work. You may not initially think that diversifying your portfolio with assets may yield a lower potential return is a wise choice, but opportunity zones will mix things up. The tax benefits you receive will let you as an investor take a lower pre-tax return on this diverse asset and you will end up achieving a higher post-tax return. This can help promote new projects in these areas that need the work, attention, and expansion.