News from the Chicago Chapter

IREM 2017 Global Summit Remembered: Shruti Kumar, CPM®



By Shruti Kumar, CPM®
IREM Chicago 2017 Executive Council Member

As an IREM Chicago leadership team member, I had a wonderful opportunity to attend the 2017 Global Summit and learn from the industry leaders on trends in the real estate industry. One of the fascinating topics of discussion held at the Summit October 11-13 was fracking in the Real Estate World.

Progress in technology has made real estate ever evolving. The industry has become more and more consumer-centric and user experience driven over the past few years. To optimize this opportunity, there is a greater desire to devise innovative ideas for using space that would otherwise remain underutilized in the traditional real estate world. Ever-evolving technology has helped create disruptions to the traditional ways of management, thus optimizing opportunities of a shared economy. According to Steve Weikl, Head of Industry Relations at MIT’s Center for Real Estate, the fracking, or sharing economy, looks at how to unlock the value in all the underutilized or dark time in real estate.

Mr. Weikl led the discussion as moderator of a panel, “Real Estate Fracking: Impact of the Sharing Economy on Commercial Real Estate,” held October 13.

Technology in real estate is evolving such that “buildings” are now thought of as shared work spaces that flex based on users’ needs. Co-working is a relatively new concept and is here to stay, per the Global Workspace Association. Landlords are coming up with creative ways to attract renters and taking truly innovative approaches to amenities, workspace options and services. The past two years have seen a multitude of startup companies with innovative ideas for shared economy in every asset group – with new companies like Convene, Industrious and WhyHotel being examples.

WhyHotel’s premise is to bring the professional service of a hotel to the space, comfort, and amenities of a brand new apartment building. By partnering with companies to rent out “unrented” lease up properties as hotel rooms, they are able to help generate revenue by utilizing units that are otherwise sitting vacant.

Convene, on the other hand, aims at designing and servicing the next-generation office building – one that feels more like a full-service, lifestyle hotel by partnering with landlords. Convene offers an integrated “workplace-as-a-service” platform that offers the opportunity to increase total asset value from higher rents, occupancy, and retention.

With choice, flexibility, and experiences at work now being more important to millennials than all other factors – including salary -- landlords should aim to have at least 12% of the building space allocated for amenities. Industrious aims to redefine standards of hospitality and community in the workplace by providing elegant and welcoming work environments for growing businesses and established professionals.

According to Jamie Russo of GWA, the future is all about flexibility.  Advancing technology in real estate and the industry becoming more consumer-centric and user experience driven, have definitely challenged us to figure out what the future looks like -- and to identify innovative ideas to logistically manage the years ahead.