Industry News

Commercial Real Estate in 2039


“Conjuring the future of commercial real estate begins by conjuring our future,” says contributor Robin Micheli in her article “7 Bold Commercial Real Estate Predictions” on Micheli interviewed Peter Linnemann, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and one of National Association of Realtors‘ 25 most influential people in the real estate industry.

Linnemann foresees rapid changes in demographics, technology, globalization, economic and environmental realities that will shape the future of the field.

Here are seven changes in the commercial real estate market that Linnemann and other industry experts predict we’ll see by 2039:

  1. Most shopping malls will be extinct. The rise in e-commerce and online retailing is causing shopping malls to be on a continual decline. In 25 years, surviving shopping mall areas will become more like city centers with medical offices and day care centers.
  2. Brick-and-mortar will go tech—and warehouses will go back to the drawing board. “People want to look and touch; they want instant gratification, too,” said Maria Sicola, an executive managing director at real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield. Businesses and stores will integrate technology into their retail spaces to provide people with the trust and assurance from the physical shopping experience and the efficiency and convenience of online shopping.
  3. Baby boomers will be behind the biggest construction boom. Baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – will turn 75 within the next decade. This will call for a heavy focus on medical facilities, senior housing and multifamily residential construction.
  4. Urbanization will sweep the planet. The manageable charms of urban living will draw baby boomers and the younger populations. These groups increasingly want to live, work and play in one compact area. The suburbs will become more urbanized and urban areas will become megacities, areas with more than 10 million inhabitants.
  5. The much-reported death of the suburbs will prove to be greatly exaggerated. Suburban areas will replicate the city experience with more mixed-use facilities, walkable communities instead of urban sprawl and connections to cities by rails and other mass transit.
  6. Work spaces will be transformed by technology. Offices will have a more campus-like feel, with open spaces, workbenches and personal plug-and-go stations. Digital amenities and smart buildings will be the only way to successfully operate a business and stay connected to the international marketplace.
  7. Green buildings will come of age. Buildings will continually become tighter and more energy efficient. Facility managers will be able to easily and conveniently monitor and control the building’s light, energy, water and heat levels to increase efficiency.

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