“Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
First impressions are a big deal. It is true when people meet each other and it is true when people meet places. As you enter a city you’ve never seen before, you may be in awe of an impressive skyline, the quality of a business park, or the design of a single building or arena. A place can create a powerful impression on a business visitor or an individual being recruited to work in the area.
A place can also have the opposite impression if buildings are haphazardly planned, the entrance to the business park is run down, or the commercial buildings in an area of town are allowed to be dilapidated.
Thinking more long-term, it is critical that your real estate product mix match your communities’ needs and ambitions. For example, small towns and communities within bigger areas trying to become entrepreneurial hubs may need co-working spaces and flexible buildings that allow for fast growth. University districts may need lab space and very thoughtful accessibility for students and faculty to interact with businesses. Manufacturers may not only need strong utilities and buffer between them and their neighbors, but also access to training facilities for their increasingly high-tech workforce.
There is a lot of focus on the economic development issues beyond real estate, but that does not mean we can forget to be intentional about it. In fact, real estate is the essential ingredient in most community strategies.
Does your real estate strategy match the needs of the businesses you currently have, allowing them to grow? Does it match up with the businesses you’re trying to attract, whether a main street business or a major industry? Finally, is your current real estate in the best condition to portray the image you want when visitors come to your area?