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A Millennial Take on Millennials’ Impact on CRE

A Millennial perspective on real estate begins with a keen understanding of Millennials’ impact on real estate. “The omnichannel focus of retail is something that people have been trying to get their heads around and how to evaluate that from an investment perspective,” Bentall Kennedy’s Karen Guthrie, a 2018 Connect Media Next Generation Award honoree, told the audience at Connect Conferences’ recent Connect Chicago event.

“You have Millennials intersecting with retail, too, so the concept of where you go to buy your goods and services has changed, and I think it will stay changed,” Guthrie continued. The rise of e-commerce, brought on in large measure by Millennial shopping habits, has also been a key influencer in the design and functionality of industrial product, she added.

Guthrie and her fellow “Next Generation of CRE” panelist, Savills Studley’s Loredana Perri (with microphone, above), had plenty to say about how CRE has and hasn’t changed with the advent of the current generation. In working with today’s office tenants, said Perri, “One of their major concerns when building out new office space is always ‘how can we attract and retain new talent? What does the younger generation want?’

“What we’re seeing a lot is the open office,” she continued. “We’ve seen some clients who have gone 100% to open office, with not a single private office in the space. That might work for some clients, but it’s not what most people need and want.”

What they do want, said Perri, is amenities. “Now they don’t necessarily need to have a huge conference space in their own spaces,” she said. “They’re looking for the building to have that.”

Yet for all the impact that younger consumers, tenants and practitioners have made on commercial real estate, Guthrie and Perri shared that plenty of time-honored principles continue to apply. Although the industry’s technological devices have evolved from the days when, as moderator Daniel Smolensky of Taurus Modal put it, “cell phones were either affixed to your car or they weighed 10 lbs.,” CRE Millennials continue to work in a pretty lean environment when it comes to tech.

“We use the normal Microsoft Office suite,” said Perri, who has also made more use of Salesforce recently. “We make the tools work for us.”

Similarly, Guthrie ticked off a list of tech tools that would be standard in any modern-day office environment. “Leveraging technology that allows you to be collaborative and allows you to be mobile is important,” she added.

And what may be the most fundamental rule of CRE still applies to its youngest professionals. “A huge part of what makes the real estate industry great is that it is relationship-based,” said Perri. “But you have to cultivate that and make those relationships grow.”


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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 16-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 7-10 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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