RE Blog
The Experience Will Drive Future Real Estate Projects
07 / 18 / 2017


Changi Airport in Singapore will embody the future of travel and leisure by creating a rich mesh of nature and urban energy with the newly scheduled Jewel Changi Airport.  Within the steel and glass biospheric structure are planned spaces for shopping, dining, and the ability to experience the architectural elements and attractions.  Its scheduled completion date is some time in 2018, but upon completion will boast the world's tallest indoor waterfall with their 40 meter high rain vortex waterfall.  On the lower floors of the 10-story structure will be major retail, dining, and leisure based outlets for travellers and visitors.  If the concepts make it to reality, it will truly be an unforgettable experience.

With changes in generations come advancements in technology and lifestyles which in turn change the preferences and choices of the consumers.  Actually, it's a hugely intertwined connection that would be hard to correlate or quantify individually by any kinds of means, but it's hard to deny the changes that have been taking place over even just the past few years of online retail sales growth and the decline of many established retailers.  In just the past two years alone we've witnessed numerous bankruptcies and literally thousands of retail stores closing down due to excessive expansion and slower retail sales.

Closings chart

Notable retailer closings for 2016-2017: Payless Shoe Source, RadioShack, J.C. Penney, Macy's, Sears, KMart, The Limited, Abercrombie & Fitch, Michael Kors, Guess, American Apparel, BCBG Max Azria, Crocs, Gander Mountain, CVS, Wet Seal, Bebe, Walmart, Aeropostale, Ralph Lauren.

A large number of the closures were at regional malls where traditionally the shoppers would aggregate themselves to go for a one-stop shopping venue.  Perhaps grab a bite to eat and that would be the extent of the visit.  But as online shopping cut more and more into the profits of brick-and-mortar retail stores, shoppers were less inclined to get out to visit the mall just to grab one or two items.  In addition to the issues which are not so much real estate oriented were the glut of similar store openings within the malls that created a redundant and banal variety in shopping.  Every mall would have the same stores over and over again without offering anything extraordinary.

The Jewel Changi Airport is not a new concept in the ever changing face of real estate.  Many Asian, Middle Eastern, and European countries are adopting a whole new synergistic approach to providing an overall experience for the visitor.  Family attractions, novel ideas and events, excellent restaurants by renowned local or celebrity chefs and restauranteurs, food halls, retailers that offer a more tangible and immersive shopping experience.  This is the future of any new real estate endeavor that hopes to be successful now and into the future.  Las Vegas, Nevada is a notable nearby SoCal location that comes to mind when it comes to trying to mesh the retail/dining/experience together.  The idea is to keep the visitor there as long as possible by providing new ways to deliver an immersive and entertaining venue.  This keeps the money flowing within the ecosystem of the project.


Dubai Underwater Zoo

Regional malls will be inundated soon with large vacancies which they will have to deal with in one way or another.  What will become of the large number of vacant spaces and how will they renovate or recreate themselves to become a new experience to the new aged shopper?  Time will tell, but if they keep the same formula of retail as generations prior property and rental values will decline.

The same concept of experience and flow has carried over tremendously in the workplace as well.  Evidenced by some of the best tech companies such as Google, Apple, and Facebook, it's hard to distinguish if the workplace is actually a place of work or a place of leisure and play.  The idea behind it is clear, however, that a less stressed and well provided for employee will in turn be more productive and more dedicated to the task at hand especially if the environment supports and encourages it.  Employee loyalty rises, productivity rises, and pride of work is shown through its production.

For real estate in general, new and modern projects are becoming more and more environmentally conscious, advocate more natural light, and have sweeping open spaces for increased depth of space and interaction.  Also, you will see a lot more projects come on line with mixed purpose.  For example, transportation hubs like subway or train stations integrated with attractions and shopping and dining.  Or hall-style retail & attraction based developments that seamlessly flow into differing interconnected hubs of other retail and immersive, interactive offerings.

The online world is upon us and it seems the growth of internet retailing will continue to expand and grow.  However, the social aspect that is inherent to our existence proves that we cannot just simply stay home and live life online.  We have to go out and socialize the traditional way and spend time with friends and family at these new, exciting venues that cater to and are relevant to our lives of today.

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