Turning arm-wrestling into a handshake

For better or for worse, CRE is evolving thanks to technology. In a very real sense, the industry is a bit late to the technology table. While other industries have already experienced the growing pains of transitioning to and making use of hard data, CRE is just now beginning to understand and incorporate cutting-edge methods.

The move, though, does not come without some growing pains and the revelation of a CRE generation gap. One recent study found that less than 25% of CRE professionals over 45 believe the industry is lagging behind in adopting new technologies. On the other hand, 65% of those under 45 think CRE is falling behind.

The CRE generation gap

What’s becoming increasingly evident in the CRE industry is an issue that has already been negotiated in other sectors: a generation gap on technology that – depending on how it’s integrated – can easily become a rift that cuts into opportunity and profits.

For many older professionals, many of whom were teethed on cultivating personal relationships to get ahead, technology can be both overwhelming and an impediment to face-to-face interactions. Younger CRE workers, as well as the investors they hope to attract, were raised on technology. For some of them, even email may be as antiquated as the Pony Express.

Technology and people aren’t going anywhere

The truth of the matter is that technology isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it will keep developing and changing and – for better or for worse – we will have to incorporate it as a means of staying competitive and relevant. Kick and scream or applaud and cheer, technology will continue to revolutionize how we do business.

At the same time, there is no replacement for people skills. They are an essential component of any personal and professional interaction. The trick, though, is how to maintain the warmth of those relationships while making maximum use of cold, hard data – and that may be the CRE skill that keeps the industry thriving.

How rapidly times have changed

It wasn’t all that long ago that CRE was mesmerized by the use of drones and virtual reality to better present properties. At the same time, new technology is allowing organizations to gather and interpret data in order to gain new insights and develop more efficient means of interpretation and knowledge gathering.

Today, start-ups are developing software that can benefit real estate professionals, tenants, investors, capital seekers, brokers, and landlords. In addition, the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart buildings monitor energy usage, predict troubles ahead, and initiate real-time responses. Then, there are next-generation geographic information systems (GIS), which compile data to find the best locations for investors and companies. CRE professionals can leverage all of this information to make better predictions and recommendations for clients.

Where do people skills fit?

In our everyday lives, we can see how easily and quickly technology can disconnect us from one another. What used to be natural for us, now takes a little bit of effort and forethought so that we do not lose those connections.

It’s the same thing in our professional lives. While some markets may welcome the opportunity to gather real estate data on their own without the assistance of a CRE professional, it is exactly that professional who can answer questions, reach out, provide solutions, gather relevant data, notice trends, and make connections.

Rather than interfering with relationships, technology can enhance those relationships and provide CRE professionals with a distinct advantage. It is imperative for individuals and the industry as a whole to stay up-to-date or risk becoming irrelevant.

At Morris Southeast Group, we understand the importance of good information, relevant technology that delivers, and the relationships that benefit us and our clients. It’s what has kept us evolving and moving forward for decades.

For a free consultation or to learn more about our property management services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

New projects are reaching for the sky

In a strange sense, Fort Lauderdale is the Jan Brady of South Florida cities. To the north is West Palm Beach, bastion of high society, and to the south, it’s all Miami, Miami, Miami. Even mapmakers are hard-pressed to get Fort Lauderdale’s name to fit on the southern tip of the Florida peninsula. Often, it’s just easier to deal with the neighbors.

That’s all about to change, though, as a series of major construction projects promise to forever change Fort Lauderdale’s skyline and investment possibilities. Just last year, Fort Lauderdale’s healthy economy, lower office rents, higher occupancy, and lower regional cost of living captured the attention of investors. Mapmakers, it seems, are going to have to make more room on their maps.

Downtown is going up

When people hear of Fort Lauderdale, they immediately think of the resorts and hotels facing the beach along A1A and memories of Spring Breaks from long ago. The city, though, is more than a pretty coastal face.

Because of its close proximity to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, the FAA has a 500’ height limit on buildings in the area. New construction projects are inching closer to that height – all at the same time.

  • Icon Las Olas: At 455’ tall, this is the tallest building in Fort Lauderdale. Rents will range from $2,500 to $7,000 a month, making it one of the most expensive rental properties in all of South Florida. It’s expected to open this fall.
  • 100 Las Olas: If Icon is the tallest building in Fort Lauderdale, it won’t be for long. 100 Las Olas, a Hyatt hotel and condo combo, will take that position at 499’. Condo prices will start at $800,000. There will also be 8,500 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurants.
  • Riverfront: Demolition has already started on this redevelopment project. When the dust settles, there will be two residential towers, 461’ and 441’ feet tall, and 58,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space.
  • Riverwalk Residences of Las Olas: This 471’ senior-living tower will also include 152 assisted living residences and 57 memory care units, as well as a host of luxury amenities and on-site medical facilities.
  • 4 West Las Olas: This proposed 273’ building – the smallest in the new bunch – will replace the 9-story Sweet Building, Fort Lauderdale’s tallest building for 46 years.

Wait, there’s more

If all of this building in a concentrated area weren’t enough, Fort Lauderdale is also addressing two important infrastructure issues.

  • Creating a vibrant and dynamic downtown scene also means addressing the transportation needs of a growing population. While the towers are going up, the city will also be laying tracks for the Wave, an electric streetcar system. Part of this process will require the five-month closure of the 3rd Avenue Bridge so the wings of the drawbridge can be fitted with Wave tracks. The system will then link the north and south banks of the New River.
  • The pedestrian walkway that runs along the north bank of the New River will be extended beyond the Icon Las Olas and the historic Stranahan House to better connect people to dining and shopping further east.

Fort Lauderdale is moving upward and outward

While all of the attention is currently focused on the downtown projects, there are two other areas of Fort Lauderdale that also deserve mention.

The first is the SOLO (south of Las Olas) neighborhood. There, the 550 Building on South Andrews Avenue will be built on the site of the existing Justice Building. The seven-story structure is Fort Lauderdale’s first new office building since 1989. In addition to six floors of office space, there will also be ground floor retail/restaurant space.

Finally, no city would be complete without an art district. Fort Lauderdale has two: FAT (Flagler & Arts & Technology) Village and MASS (Music & Arts South of Sunrise) District. On the fourth Saturday of each month, the two areas – packed with galleries, arts venues, and speakeasies – host an art walk and are linked by a free trolley.

South Florida is growing

Morris Southeast Group is excited and energized with the news coming out of Fort Lauderdale. The downtown project adds up to 1,900 apartments, 400 condo units, 238 hotel rooms, and countless square feet of commercial and retail space.

For a free consultation or to learn more about our commercial investment or property management services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.