Companies Helping to Bring Innovation to Commercial Real Estate in 2017

Commercial real estate is behind the times.

That might come as a surprise, especially since the industry is valued at $12.6 trillion. Thankfully, a growing community of tech startups is beginning to address common issues that plague the industry.

Just weeks ago, Hightower and VTS, software solutions that help real estate professionals and owners manage the sales and leasing of properties, announced a $300 million merger to combine both services under the name VTS. The company focuses on helping real estate professionals track deals and manage space in real-time, and collaboratively. CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm recently announced the acquisition of Floored, a NYC based company that creates interactive 3D graphics and technology for the hospitality and real estate industries.

Besides VTS and Floored, a number of venture-backed startups have removed some of the old pain points that were inherent in the aging world of commercial real estate. Here are a few of the other companies whose innovations are making a difference at various points along the chain of real estate services.

For Tenants

Previously, searching for commercial space was a daunting process that involved you, your broker, and a set of listings that your broker had access to. Options were limited and the market wasn’t transparent because of a lack of data. 42Floors helps address these issues by aggregating many different sets of listings and displaying them on its online platform. Users can then search for appropriate rentals through the commercial space index.

NYC-based startup SquareFoot similarly provides users with a platform that aggregates online listings but takes it a step further. The company offers leasing advice, and brokers here serve as concierges who focus their efforts on guiding businesses through the entirety of the leasing process. As a bonus, features built into SquareFoot’s platform allow brokers and tenants to easily communicate, share notes, schedule tours and manage everything online.

According to Jonathan Wasserstrum, SquareFoot’s CEO “Technology has upended many parts of the CRE value chain already, and the relationships between tenants and brokers are no exception. So when it comes to the level of accountability and transparency that tenants expect from their brokers, that bar is rising.”

But what about having to physically walk through a space in person? Floored developed a solution to this problem by building software that turns 3D data into interactive virtual worlds. Matterport is similar in that it creates VR renderings of the insides of properties, but it also allows anyone to actually create the 3D models using a special depth-sensing camera and share them over the Internet. Both companies are developing exciting ways to explore a place as if you were really there.

For Investors and Capital Seekers

Commercial real estate transactions aren’t exactly known for being cheap. But there’s a significant community of investors that are willing to foot the bill for new projects that they consider to be worthwhile, profitable investments. But where do you find them? For years, that’s where the conversation stopped. Cadre entered the scene in 2014 as a platform that connects seekers and providers of capital. In Cadre’s own words, the company is “building a more efficient economy for the world’s most impactful buyers and sellers.” For those interested in going the route of crowdfunding, companies like RealtyShares and Fundrise are opening up opportunities for investors to pool their resources and invest in properties through their respective online platforms.

For Brokers and Landlords

Managing multiple deals from start to finish is a time-intensive business. The concept behind Honest Buildings is similar to VTS’s, but it is made for those overseeing capital and construction projects. The collaborative platform harnesses the power of data analytics to help professionals make sure projects are progressing on time and on budget. Good data about pricing, comps, property information, and more is a non-negotiable in the world of commercial real estate. But for years, it’s barely been possible to access such data, and if you did, it would cost more time and dollars to pull any helpful insights from it. That’s where companies like Credifi and Reonomy come in. Credifi is bringing transparency to the industry by making available data on 2.2 million properties and loans, while Reonomy offers powerful analytics to help customers make faster, more informed decisions.

CompStak‘s wedge into the market is a platform for the exchange of commercial lease comparables, more commonly known as comps. Brokers, appraisers and researchers can trade their own comps for credits on the platform while landlords, lenders, and investors can access our lease data by subscribing to our Enterprise platform.

The CEO of CompStak Michael Mandel predicts “2017 will bring more M&A activity than we’ve seen in recent history, with major established CRE Tech players trying to scoop up the innovators.  My guess is that some of these get folded into the parent companies, but others will continue to run independently.”

It’s an exciting time to be in real estate. Tech-fueled innovations are making deals and projects happen faster and more frequently not just on the residential side of real estate, but the commercial side too — and that’s great news for businesses everywhere.

The story originally appeared on the Forbes website.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

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St. Patrick’s Day 2017

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About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

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Seven Factors of Great Office Design

 

Smart companies understand that workspaces are a business tool. An office environment reflects and reinforces a business’s core values, through the placement of different teams and functions and design elements that reflect culture, brand, and values.

For example, we’ve seen an explosion of open office layouts, in part because openness, transparency, and collaboration are some of the attributes companies strive for today. Sometimes these designs work well; however, research shows that this collaborative push may be too much of a good thing. Increasingly, people are rediscovering the value of quiet and focus and asking for spaces where they can concentrate.

In fact, collaboration and quiet are two ends of a continuum with a range of in-between work modes — each with an optimal setting. The best way to identify these is to identify everyday work patters and micro-moments that correspond to office design decisions.

This is easier said than done, however. It’s one thing to note a person working solo in an otherwise empty seminar room, or a group of people huddling around someone’s desk because a conference room wasn’t available. It’s quite another to imagine what an alternative, effective scenario might look like.

To get everyone speaking the same spatial language, we created a Collaboration and Quiet index consisting of seven attributes that can more concretely enable people to match a desired way of working with a physical space: location, enclosure, exposure, technology, temporality, perspective, and size.

To better understand how these work, try the exercise below on your own or with your team. Pick an example of a work activity that happens regularly, like a daily or weekly standing meeting. Using the continuum below, try to identify the ideals for your particular situation (they will likely fall somewhere between the two extremes on either end). For the attribute “location,” for example, you could ask your team: Is the meeting best facilitated if it’s held in an in-demand central meeting room or near where other people are likely to gather? Or is it best facilitated closer to your team’s work area and away from where you are likely to encounter others?

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When you’re done, consider all your answers collectively — this can help give you the language to identify your needs beyond, say, “We need more collaborative meeting space.”

There are a variety of ways you can use this exercise beyond one meeting. It can serve as the basis of a design visioning workshop with a larger group about how and where people work and how they would envision working in new ways in the future. We created a version of our index as an online survey that feeds us input in a more systematic way and as a means of reaching more people — you could, too, if your organizations are more accustomed to engaging in surveys online rather than in person.

Getting Started

To begin the discussion in your organization, in addition to analyzing the seven attributes with your employees, company leaders should also ask themselves the following questions:

  • Who are our employees, and who will they be in the next 5 years?
  • Who else uses our space (visitors, clients, community members, etc.), and why?
  • How do we want clients, prospective hires, or other visitors to perceive us when they enter our space?
  • To what extent do we value flexibility and choice over how work gets done?
  • Are certain modes of working seen as a privilege only available to a select few?
  • What current workplace behaviors would we like to change?
  • What are the most satisfying attributes of the existing workplace that sustain productivity?

If people aren’t regularly coming to the office, do we understand why not?

The design and outfitting of workspace is a major capital investment for any organization that can affect a number of business outcomes, including productivity, employee satisfaction, engagement, talent recruitment, and brand impact. Given the myriad ways to design and plan a space, leaders should approach workplace design in a strategic way. Imitating the latest fads start-ups are adopting won’t necessarily get you the results your company desires; asking the right questions — and, above all, listening to employees’ answers — will.

The story originally appeared on the HBR website.

 

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

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What’s Technology Doing to Commercial Real Estate?

February 28, 2017 Leave a comment

For years, the narrative about the commercial real estate industry’s relationship with technology was one of missed opportunity. While many business sectors quickly latched onto the technological revolution of the 1990s, commercial real estate professionals by and large maintained the status quo for their day-to-day operations, which on some level kept the industry from realizing the benefits of widespread technology adoption.

In recent years, however, the industry has begun to make significant strides. Whether using general enterprise technologies or tools created specifically for the CRE professional, it is increasingly tapping into the digital world to improve processes and create efficiencies. Many dozens of such tools have been created specifically for real estate professionals, from crowdfunding sites to platforms that help investors and brokers leverage advances in big data and virtual reality. With the industry seemingly ripe for disruption, venture capital has flowed rapidly into real estate startups, which raised $1.42 billion from venture capital firms in 2015, according to RE:Tech.

But does this lose sight of the bigger picture for real estate and technology? There’s no doubt that we’ve seen something of a reversal of the industry’s initial aversion to technologies, and as tech-savvy millennials increasingly fill the ranks of its workforce, we can expect this to continue. But the more significant issue is not whether real estate will embrace technology – it’s how CRE can navigate the changes that technology has wrought on the world at large.

Because the new, digital world has affected every commercial real estate asset class – and the impact has frequently presented real estate professionals with significant challenges.

The effect on the retail sector may be most pronounced and is certainly the best known. With the market entry of e-commerce, many retailers have been forced to reduce their physical footprint, and others have closed, leading to increased vacancies across the country in retail assets of all types.

The hospitality sector has similar challenges, because of peer-to-peer replacements like Airbnb. Despite regulatory hurdles in certain municipalities, there’s no denying that Airbnb is effectively increasing the supply of rooms available in many markets. While a boon to tourists and other travelers, the increase has a negative impact on commercial real estate developers and investors.

Office can expect its own share of obstacles. Technologies that support telecommuting continue to be developed, which has created a work environment where face-to-face interaction between different business units is no longer universally seen as essential. As mobile technologies continue to grow in the coming years, and especially as office devotees retire and are replaced by a younger tech-oriented cohort, we can expect the telecommuting trend to lead to shrinking corporate footprints.

Of course, it’s not all bad news. Where retail has begun to wither, the industrial sector has picked up. E-commerce and shipping companies need warehouse and distribution centers to house their operations, and there’s a trend toward converting industrial facilities into office space. This has markedly increased investor interest in industrial properties, and in many markets, industrial development activity has picked up significantly to keep up with booming demand.

And where peer-to-peer hospitality options may pose a threat to the hospitality sector, we can expect them to have a positive impact on multifamily. Apartment leasing can be expected to pick up from both “mini-hoteliers” – i.e. people looking for facilities they can lease out nightly on Airbnb – and young people who will be able to afford their own apartments because of the cash flow they can generate by renting them out intermittently.

To put it simply, adopting the best of today’s enterprise and real estate technology is important – but it’s not enough. Given the rapidly changing world around us, come tomorrow, forward-thinking CRE professionals will have more to contend with than just e-commerce and Airbnb. To remain competitive in 2020, 2030 and beyond, it’s key to stay abreast of major trends — like ride-sharing, autonomous cars and 3D printing — to determine and grapple with their real estate implications. For the long-term, the key is not adopting technology – it’s adapting to it.

This story was originally appeared on the Real Estate Tech News website.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

 

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6 Effective Ways to Train Your New Hires

February 21, 2017 Leave a comment

You’ve just hired several new employees—congratulations! Find out the most effective ways to train your new hires and make them company superstars.

1. Give Your New Hires Training Manuals
Instructions for company software, a directory of employees and references for resources are all excellent features to include. Online manuals make it easy to add and adjust information and are accessible to your new hires when they are at home

2. Set Your New Hire Up with a Mentor
Mentor programs facilitate relationships, relieve stress for new hires and allow existing employees to become leaders. The mentor can help your new hire with everything, from operating company software to navigating who to talk to get things done, making it easier and less intimidating for your new hire to understand the company.

3. Use an E-Learning Program
Make sure your new hires know commercial real estate. Whether it’s understanding real estate finance, how to use debt correctly or property valuation, you want your new hires to sound like experts when working with clients and partners.

4. Test Your New Hire’s Knowledge
Sure, you can give your new hires all the tools to succeed, but did they actually learn everything they need to know? Find out by quizzing them with Bisnow Education post-video quizzes, similar to this one here.

5. Encourage Questions
Encourage your new hires to ask questions instead of making assumptions. It’s easier to prevent the mess than do damage control. Make this easier by stating no question is a dumb question during those first weeks.

6. Set Your New Hires Free
You hired your new employees for a reason. Trust them, let them flourish and avoid micromanagement. They may not be perfect at first, but with time, they’ll learn the system and some of them will become your superstars.

This story was originally appeared on the Bisnow website.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

 

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Presidents Day 2017

February 15, 2017 Leave a comment

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About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

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What Are Your Employees Thinking?

February 7, 2017 Leave a comment

The state of the modern workplace is evolving, perhaps more quickly than ever. Increases in diversity, the flexibility and scalability that technology provides, the nature of benefits and work environment that employees are willing to demand—all contribute to an ever-changing dynamic that’s exciting for workers and, to a certain extent, a challenge for employers.

To get a sense of the state of the modern workplace – and a hint at where it may be heading – international professional services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, conducted focus groups in New York City and online surveys this past May, with 1,385 workers of all types. PwC also surveyed 200 C-Level executives of small to large companies to get an employers’ perspective.

The study yielded some interesting results, showing how employees in the modern workplace are feeling, what motivates them, what they feel is important and how they see their futures. Justin Sturrock, People & Organization leader at PwC, admitted that his organization’s survey merely grazes the surface of complex issues facing employers and companies today and in the near future.

“Being a leader today is far more difficult than it probably was even ten years ago,” Sturrock said. “Because I think the pace of business and the complexity of business and the external factors of business have accelerated and changed and they are constantly changing.” Employees, he explained, simply want more than they used to, and the answer to keeping employers and their workers contently working together could be for each side to meet each other halfway.

Without further ado, here are some of the discoveries PwC made …

A Third Of Workers Are Not Satisfied.
When asked to rate their jobs on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest), 60% of the employees gave a rating between 8 and 10. Meanwhile, three-in-ten of those surveyed said they expect to change jobs within six months and 38% expect to move on within the next year. That trend is higher among younger workers—one-half of Generation Z and one-third of Millennials say they are very or somewhat likely to change jobs in the next six months.

But why leave? Well, half of respondents say that work-life balance is very important but only 34% say they have achieved what they’re looking for in that arena. Also, only 36% of workers say that their opinions seem to count at work, and the same percentage feel appreciated at their workplace. “Employees are looking for more than the fee for service, that was the traditional structure,” Sturrock explained. Values, social relevance and purpose are more important than they used to be.

Employers surveyed tended to have a rosier view of the workplace dynamic, PwC discovered: 62% of them view their relationship with employees as a “committed partnership,” while most employees consider it a “marriage of convenience” or a “casual acquaintanceship.” Younger workers are less likely to feel a bond with leadership.

Work Flexibility Is A Key To Contentment
PwC’s survey showed that 38% of workers say they are able to work from home at least one day a week. Those workers tend have a higher rate of job satisfaction.  In fact, those workers with remote work flexibility were 48% more likely to rate their jobs a 10 on the “happiness scale.”

Small Businesses Have Happier Employees
In PwC’s survey, employees working at smaller businesses – of less than 50 people – are almost 50% more likely to rate their company as “high-functioning” and 43% say they are happy where they are working. Only 27% of workers at companies with 1,000 employees claimed they were happy. Also, 42% of small business employees said they felt respected at work, compared to 33% at large companies.

Employees at smaller firms are also more likely to feel that they can learn and grow at their jobs. In fact, 80% say they feel appreciated at work.

Smaller companies are also more likely to offer the flexibility to work remotely, which as we’ve noted makes workers feel more content. Of the employees surveyed that worked for larger firms, 86% said they would like to work from home but only 26% do.

PwC notes that the size of companies and its correlation to a positive work-life culture are not set in stone. Larger firms can take steps to adopt the policies that smaller companies have used to make their personnel more content.

Gender In The Workplace
In PwC’s survey, women were less likely to rate themselves as happy in their work. They were also less likely to rate their companies as highly functional, less likely to say that “exciting work” is part of their jobs and do not rate their leaders as highly.

PwC contends that this is because women do not feel they are given adequate opportunities to advance and say that they are not in control of their work. Men, on the other hand, have more positive ratings on these concepts.

Turning this trend around could mean placing greater emphasis on factors women feel are important. Compared to men, women are more likely to place emphasis on work-life balance, the ability to do what they feel is meaningful work and the feeling that they can be themselves in their workplace.

A Gig-Economy?
Only a small amount of the U.S. workforce is made up of freelancers and contractors (about 10 million or so, is the estimate), and PwC’s survey shows that employees have mixed feelings about breaking away from larger organizations to work more independently.

Of those surveyed, 41% of non-independent workers expected to become independent workers within the next 12 months and 53% said they would within the next five years. Of all respondents, 86% “at least somewhat agree” that they have a strong desire to work independently, and the reason for that, PwC says, is because they feel it will allow them flexibility, work-life balance, more money and greater control over their work environment. The older employers were, the more they reported having a strong desire to become independent workers—those age 50 and older were about twice as likely to want to work independently.

That said, only 17% of respondents said they expect to start their own companies, says Sturrock, and 16% expect to create their own professional brand. Also, 54% of respondents disagree that, in the future, most people will work for themselves. “Those traditional work structures on one side and the gig economy on the other side—neither of those structures is the complete answer for organizations,” Sturrock explained, “particularly large organizations.”

Dampening the resolve to make the shift to independent work, though, is uncertainty. PwC reported that 39% of respondents felt that not having the steady pay of a non-independent job was the biggest downside of life as a freelancer.

The story originally appeared on the Forbes website.

About The Sundance Company
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

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