Thought leadership: How CRE fits into corporate strategy
The cliché of “Location, location, location” applies in commercial real estate (CRE) as much as residential, but what factors you bundle into that assessment are, naturally, vastly different and should be explicitly tied to corporate strategy. That’s the realm of corporate real estate management (CREM).
A savvy corporate client on the hunt for premises will be asking whether a proposed site will support their corporate goals.
When considering a potential position for offices or logistics, for example, an assessor might ask about the transport links, the nearby shops and facilities. They may consider perception and whether the location is in keeping with brand identity.
They will need to understand the current and future demands the company will make of a location, and how the lease or sale terms will be perceived by a board or management team.
Access to (human) resources
There is another oft-overlooked location factor that NAI argues should form part of a CRE strategy: talent and access to the right people.
This is the nature of cities or areas that become hubs for specific industries and sectors: they have a rich pool of workers with the right mix of skills to draw from. If you’re looking for the top geologists in the world, you probably want to focus on an area associated with mining. Want people who are passionate and knowledgeable about the ocean? Try Hawaii. Silicon Valley, and increasingly Texas, are meccas for the technically minded.
There’s remote work and transferable skills to consider, of course, but generally speaking a talent pool linked to an area is self-sustaining, in the way that Silicon Valley and Stanford will always be linked in their mutual development paths.
What type of staff you envision filling your hallways and boardrooms will also inform other location considerations: like access to good schools, parks, or public transport.
Property as an asset
Last but definitely not least, the right property is an asset and an investment with future dividends. This is why a smart broker, or their corporate client isn’t just looking at what is now, but what could be, what’s on the horizon, and any prevailing trends that need to be considered.
A client with explicit return on investment (ROI) expectations or a particular appetite for risk – as just two examples – should place that information on the table from the get-go, as premises can be (and often are) serving the dual purposes of functional and financial.
Remember: business strategy should drive a real estate decision, not the other way round.