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Thriving in commercial real estate in the digital age

Whether you are a resident of Arizona looking to purchase commercial real estate or a Canadian investor seeking properties in the U.S., you may have many questions about how to begin the process of investing to maximize your potential for success. This is an especially challenging prospect because of the impact technology is having on brick-and-mortar business entities.

More retail stores are responding to the online shopping trend by closing their buildings and expanding their online presence. In fact, during the holiday season you may be part of the 96 percent of consumers who admit to shopping on websites instead of going out to malls and shopping centers. Additionally, many businesses take advantage of technology by allowing their employees to work remotely from home. With these factors, you may have to think creatively to keep your commercial properties viable.

Investing outside the box

While it is easy to see big retailers closing their doors and leaving cavernous vacuums in malls, not all retailers are exclusively online, and not all shoppers use their computers for every purchase. The trick is to use your commercial space to not only attract interesting tenants, but to attract customers for those tenants. Some ways you can do this include the following:

  • Invest in properties that have a variety of uses, such as a strip mall, rather than single-use properties. Mixed-use buildings combine retail, office space, residential units and entertainment venues, among others.
  • Seek multiple tenants that will attract similar customers. For example, cluster an assortment of clothing boutiques with accessory shops and a styling salon.
  • Be willing to repurpose large retail properties into more intimate spaces with plenty of technology capability.
  • Stay current on trends like shared workspaces and pop-up shops.
  • Avoid properties that compete with online giants like Amazon, aiming instead for businesses no one can use online, such as hair salons, medical offices and restaurants.
  • Keep your properties updated and ready to support new trends.

Some commercial real estate analysts recommend adding industrial properties to your portfolio since these are relevant even when consumers shop online. Additionally, since people have to live somewhere, including residential real estate may be a savvy move. In fact, some advisors recommend transitioning to residential properties exclusively.

No matter the path you choose for your commercial investments, you will undoubtedly face legal issues concerning the purchase and leasing of these properties. Having a skilled attorney in your corner may provide some peace of mind during this potentially stressful undertaking.

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