The future of commerical real estate in Metro Boston and elsewhere in the country will be shaped by how Generation “Y” does business, according to industry analyst Todd Clarke. Clarke recently shared his long-term commercial market projections with the National Association of REALTORS®. I have the highlights for you here, with some thoughts of my own included.
First, the broad view: a burgeoning world population will increase the demand for commercial real estate through 2050. Urbanization, along with demands for walkability and social opportunity, will the be drivers for high-density housing and commercial space.
Generation Y is the first complete “Internet Generation.” Generation Y can live out of a backpack, because most everything they own and value can be stored on their mobile computing device – music, movies, photos. All they really want is a good high-speed Internet connection.
Generation Y thinks and works differently; office cubicles are out. Open, community work space is “in.” This generation also demands flexible arrangements. Clarke suggests that Generation Y has little use for cumbersome, complicated office leases when they can easily meet with clients at the local Starbuck’s.
Because of this, we are seeing an emergence of the “third site” – a place where salespeople, consultants, and business owners of all trades meet with clients on neutral ground. Everything from a coffee shop to an art gallery to a pizza restaurant can be easily taken over for public meeting space, if there is ample room and free wi-fi available.
To capitalize on this trend, retail locations should think social, and offer good table space within their establishment. Clarke describes seeing an “open” sales meeting at an airport Starbucks, complete with large-screen visuals, which no doubt drew public curiosity. Talk about getting in front of your customers!
All considered, we can expect to see a shift away from large office spaces with maze-like cubicle workstations. Generation Y likes work-from-home arrangements, and more corporations are finding that telecommuting does not deter productivity. However, certain types of businesses, such as law firms, insurance companies, financial services and medical facilities will demand large commercial space.
This is all exciting news for Boston, which has many neighborhoods that score well for “walkability.” The greater Boston area is a haven for Generation Y, with our excellent colleges and universities, and thriving urban culture. The city of the future is right here!
If you are ready to relocate, begin, or expand your business in Metro Boston, let me help you! There are many excellent options for Boston commercial real estate, whether you prefer to lease or own. Contact me today and tell me about your businesses needs. I will find the ideal location for you in Metro Boston!