Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles That May Help You This Week

November 27th, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

Grand Buildings Help Keep Macy’s Afloat
What Macy’s does have going for it is real estate — a vast network of more than 600 stores across the country. Macy’s real estate, with an estimated value of $16 billion, is worth more than the company’s market value of $6.4 billion, according to an analysis by Cowen, the investment management and banking firm. Many of its oldest stores are a developer’s dream — soaring spaces with ornate exteriors in the heart of major American cities.”

Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting.
“…a growing body of evidence shows that over all, college students learn less when they use computers or tablets during lectures. They also tend to earn worse grades. The research is unequivocal: Laptops distract from learning, both for users and for those around them. It’s not much of a leap to expect that electronics also undermine learning in high school classrooms or that they hurt productivity in meetings in all kinds of workplaces.”

Amazon’s Landlord: How The E-Commerce Boom Is Propelling Warehouse King Prologis To New Heights
“Because if you believe in e-commerce, you believe in Prologis. While internet shopping has devastated demand for traditional retail spaces, it has had the opposite effect on industrial real estate. Amazon is Prologis’ largest tenant, occupying 16 million square feet. (Prologis is also Amazon’s largest landlord, accounting for 13% of the warehouse space it operates.) Why? Getting a book to you in less than 48 hours (Amazon Prime’s promise) means already having it–and several thousand other items–nearby when you order.”

Why Do We Still Commute?
“It’s true that, since the rise of the Internet, we report working from home more than we did before. But computers and smartphones didn’t replace the office—they’ve just kept us tethered to it when we’re not there. The vast majority of us still travel to work most days: only about 2.8 percent of the total workforce says they work from home “at least half the time.” It’s a reality reflected in commuting data: Since 1980, when the U.S. Census Bureau started collecting data on this issue, the average daily commute of Americans has increased roughly 20 percent, with the typical worker now commuting over 26 minutes each way.”

The Future Of Retail In The Age Of Amazon
“But here’s the thing about the Mall of America: It’s fighting back. “I hear all this doom and gloom in the industry,” says the mall’s SVP of business development, Jill Renslow, with an upbeat, Midwestern delivery. “I’m like, ‘Folks! Keep your chin up! There’s so much opportunity!’ ” The mall completed a $325 million expansion in 2015, says Renslow, who started working there as an intern in the mid-1990s and has seen it endure recessions and upheaval before. A new 342-room JW Marriott has opened upstairs, and retailers like Zara and Anthropologie are being lured to the space. The mall is experimenting with new leasing models to attract pop-ups and younger players like Untuckit and Toms Shoes.”

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!



Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles That May Help You This Week

November 13th, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

Preview of the First Mass Timber High-Rise in the United States
“Images of the Framework building, the first high-rise building in the U.S. constructed out of mass timber materials, provided by Lever Architecture and KPFF Consulting Engineers.”

Great Storytelling Connects Employees to Their Work
“Connection happens when you see past the details of a task to its human consequences. When you feel connected to the moral purpose of your work, you behave differently. Now “moral purpose” might sound lofty but it needn’t mean saving a puppy or curing cancer; it can involve any kind of human service. And at the end of the day, all business is about service.”

Ten Things Never, Ever To Say About Yourself
“We have been taught to brag about ourselves in our professional branding, but that’s terrible advice.

The more illustrious a person is, the less likely they are to praise themselves. When someone is truly a guru, other people say “That person is a guru!” but the guru doesn’t say it about themselves. It would be beneath them to boast. They don’t have to, and they don’t want to.

The people who brag about their credentials on LinkedIn or anywhere else are afraid that if they don’t trumpet their accomplishments, no one will respect them.”

Is Your Agile Workspace Legible?
“In this age of ubiquitous wi-fi and long commute times, a lot of space planning focuses on providing that choice. In question would be where, when or how a person works. For sake of this discussion, we could consider this the ‘degree of agility’. There are several reasons to consider agility. Among them are employee satisfaction, real estate efficiency, granting people choice, and providing employees with a sense of control.”

Where Self-Driving Cars Go to Learn
“We are in the Wild West phase of autonomous vehicles, where companies are looking for the state with the least amount of sheriffing going on,” said Henry Jasny, senior vice president at Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a nonprofit based in Washington.

The payoff for Arizona has been a tech boom, with dozens of autonomous vehicle companies flocking here to set up operations. Every day, Waymo, the driverless car business owned by Google’s corporate parent Alphabet, as well as Uber, Lyft, General Motors and Intel now deploy hundreds of cars that drive themselves on the streets of Phoenix, a sprawling metropolis of 1.4 million people.”

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!



Blurred Lines

Robots and artificial intelligence in the workplace. GenX wants and needs. CoWorking. What impact will self driving cars have on office buildings? Is my industrial conversion office space “authentic” and true to my company’s brand? Oh, and I want privacy on demand.

Largest number of attendees in history – over 3,000.

Learning pavilions spread thought out the convention floor with short 15-20 minute sessions. Think TED Talks for CRE.

Those are just some of the topics discussed at the annual confab of all things corporate real estate which is hosted by the trade organization CoreNet Global. The meeting was held in Seattle, Washington which is fitting given that we were collectively at the feet of the mighty Amazon. As the entire world knows, AMZN is in the market with one of the largest space needs in modern corporate real estate history known as #hq2. I was looking around for Alexa everywhere….

Real estate executives said the “lines” created by office walls and geographic boundaries are starting to come down – or become blurred lines. With the softening comes even more challenges to CRE’s (corporate real estate executives): information and security risk, highly empowered workers with big demands and the need for space to adapt very quickly. The modern workplace must be flexible as to location and then inside the physical space flexible as to different types of work.

Here are the things I heard on some of the very hottest topics:

Robots and AI

  • Robots and facility automation will continue to rapidly evolve and relieve humans of low payback activities
  • Estimates are $90,000 per year to operate a robot who can operate 24/7 and replace a human security guard.
  • We will continue to see the evolution of the building as much more than sticks and bricks. Will seen the emergence of the space as a service provider. In fact, the building itself becomes a machine – automatically changing around furniture, lighting, provide comfort and productivity of every kind and deal with weather.

    The famous Pike Market on a chilly Seattle day.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI), which is really code to support machines will become smarter and smarter and specific to corporate real estate. Think of a corporate version of Alexa or Siri.
  • High tech drives the need for high touch as people. Rise of the robots means people need to spend more time together
  • Robots in the future will be digital “sherpas” so that we don’t have to carry digital tools like laptops
  • Digital twins in 5 years that are far smarter that Siri will talk to other digital twins for meeting coordination and low level task production
  • Some wondered with all this automation, and the simultaneous happening of the gig economy how does corporate America inculcate culture and values?

Gen Z: Influencing the Real Estate Footprint

Some observations from a panel of Gen X’ers:
  • Industrial spaces converted to office is a solution, but what you are really talking about is an input into the process. Its less about the generation and more about where people are in their life’s journey. Millenials are just younger baby boomers. As people get older, there are consistencies with what they want. For example, young children are a great equalizer in terms of what people want.
  • More face to face interaction helps Gen X with knowledge transfer.

    Yes, I did catch the fish. Yes, I did wash my hands. No I didn’t eat sushi after that point.

  • What do people DO when they are at work? That tells me as a Gen Z a lot about the company?As a Gen X, culture is a lot more important to me than the physical layout.
  • Culture is driven by the people in the space, not the design of the space
  • People are most happy when they go to work (as in a place) every day if they have a friend at work.
  • What has not worked? – You can try too hard. If being hip and cool is not consistent with your corporate culture then it won’t ring true. When someone comes into our offices do they get a sense of how they work from the people and the space? If so, that is
  • Watch cutting vs. bleeding edge. Make sure your risk tolerance  is consistent with technological risk.
  • Brand is more than paint on the wall, carpet and color – its the actually embodiment of the mission. Failure: “I saw this really cool thing somewhere else, but didn’t stress test in their own organization” before we installed in our office.
  • How are you signaling to your people that (1) the work you do is important and (2) we care about you.

    Fruit at the Pike Street Market

  • We are talking less about efficiencies now and more about experience. More expensive to have brain drain than savings from densification. Leading a move discussion about efficiencies only is likely to fail. I don’t care if my company is saving a dollar on my back. I want to work someplace warm and front. Space needs to serve people through the entire arc of the day.
  • We are catering way to much to then new generation (GenZ). We (as corporate America) should be planning for people that are already there. Keep hearing that Gen Z wants what baby boomers want…pengilum will swing. Most important thing is to be in the workplace listen to senior folks on the phone. If I could sit there for 2 hours a day and listen it would be great.

Automation in Cars

  • Using fleet car services will fundamentally change the arrival and departure experience in office building. Currently, 90% of arrivals enter through a garage. The new experience feels much more like a hotel motor court.
  • Will the Roof become the new lobby with flying cars?
  • We heard that developers are starting to plan building with higher garage clear heights so they can be adaptively reused when personal cars are no longer a “thing.”


  • Why do we in corporate America care if employees like coworking? War for talent – 73% of organizational leaders are concerned about the availability of skilled labor
  • Coworker is not just the struggling entrepreneur – average age is 38
  • Cushman & Wakefield client party at the Museum of Pop Culture. It’s an amazing space.

    First place is the office, second place is the home, third place is Starbucks, place 3.5 is the car in the Starbucks parking lot for conference calls, and fourth place is coworking.

  • Targets by coworking providers are no longer as much individuals – chasing corporate America
  • New term: a “Jelly” – organic group or people who glom on to each other and hang out – like in a Starbucks or other quick service restaurants.
  • Todays employees want choice, community and flexibility
  • 77% of facilities are in an urban location and 62% looking to expand and move to larger locations.
  • Several years ago, question was is this a fad? with 62% of centers looking to expand, this is not a fad. Will disrupt the industry
  • Average number of member is 75 members
  • Seeing the emergence of the “big box” retailer – A solution that is focused on targeting corporations to provide space.
  • WeWork is the largest tenant in New York City and one of the largest consumers or real estate in the world.

Privacy and Productivity

  • One of the biggest complaints in open workplaces is privacy and the ability to have quiet and private phone calls.

    Tower of Guitars at the Museum of Pop Culture

  • Young people stated the need for “real time privacy.”
  • Ripping out all private spaces and forcing collaborations totally ignores introverts. Millennials complain amongst themselves about being in a open environment.
  • Open Plan, Friend or Foe? An open plan can be really bad. So can an office. All not created equal. Like saying all automobiles are the same.
  • A new trend is “activity based” planning. Developing new ways to connect in open plan design based on what you are doing. Design is in a progression and is progressing.
  • Wellness is fundamental to productivity. A sick workforce is no workforce.

In sum, the energy is high and the feeling is optimistic. Most directors of corporate real estate have a pep in their step, but are drowning in emails and assignments to expand.

I surmise from the conference that most everyone is growing quickly and thinking about how to keep the workforce engaged, happy and healthy. Improving the quality of work-life balance and overall work experience are what sought after employees are seeking in companies – current and future.

All is well with the CRE world in 2017. The good times will continue in 2018 as well and beyond.

Whistle while you work – wherever that might be. And step right over those blurry lines!


Bookmarks: 5 Interesting Articles That May Help You This Week

 November 6th, 2017

Credit: iStock

Credit: iStock

Each week, I select a few articles that rise above the fray and hopefully help you on your journey in the CRE world. They pull from one of four “corners:” corporate real estate, technology, management science and anything positive. I welcome your comments on these articles and the submissions of others (with credit to you if I post them). I wish you a terrific week!

Are You Suited for a Start-Up?
“Start-ups have no clear hierarchies or paths to advancement. But from their embryonic stages through more-mature ones, they need good managers to create and effectively run departments such as marketing, product development, and sales. And one can accrue numerous personal and professional rewards working for these young organizations. In nearly every interview I’ve conducted with start-up joiners, they have emphasized how much they value the autonomy, creativity, and growth they experience in their jobs—all elements critical to fulfillment.”

The Top Reasons Startups Fail
Oh Snap! | “More often than not, however, startups tend to fail brutally. According to CB Insights, 70 percent of upstart tech companies fail, usually about 20 months after first raising financing. The failure rate is even worse for consumer hardware startups with 97 percent of seed crowdfunded companies failing or turning into “zombies.”

Six Myths About Choosing a College Major
“Students get plenty of advice about picking a major. It turns out, though, that most of it is from family and friends, according to a September Gallup survey. Only 11 percent had sought guidance from a high school counselor, and 28 percent from a college adviser. And most didn’t think that the advice was especially helpful. Maybe it’s because much of the conventional thinking about majors is wrong.”

We’re in the Worst Talent Shortage Since 2007. Employers Are Using This Strategy to Stand Out
“Organizations are facing one of the largest talent shortages since 2007. In fact, a ManpowerGroup report indicated that 40 percent of the more than 42,000 employers surveyed indicated they were having a difficult time filling positions.

When Manpower dug a little deeper, it found the top reasons driving the frustration included:

  • A lack of available applicants
  • A lack of experience
  • A lack of hard skills
  • Seeking more pay than is offered
  • A lack of soft skills

Ten Things Never, Ever To Wear To Work
“There is no dress code policy — or any other policy, for that matter — that will eliminate the need for conversation.

One of the signs of a healthy workplace is that people are always discussing and debating questions like “What’s okay to wear to work around here?”

It is pointless to try and write HR policies in such a way that no conversation is needed. That’s an impossible standard to reach and in any case, conversation is essential! It’s through conversation that relationships are built. It’s how trust is established.”

Your success blesses others. I wish you a great a hugely impactful week!