Brave New World

By Stephen L. Burger, CPM®, CRX, CSM

It was a rather small story that appeared over the weekend so it might not have garnered your attention.But the implications behind it are huge, and we picked it up for EBMC’s own news page.

I’m referring to the announcement that Budweiser delivered some 50,000 cans of beer from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, CO by driverless technology. The company claims that it is the world’s first commercial delivery using the technology, and that might be. Europe has been making great strides in the area, but so far no like announcement has hit the wires.

Be that as it may, the age of the driverless vehicle is here, and so begins the transformation of American business, from retail and industrial facilities to commercial and multifamily real estate.The implications for office and multifamily assets are huge among themselves. Just think of the impact on parking as private users turn to driverless services such as Uber (which, by the way, owned the Budweiser truck).

This will be especially true in CBD office and apartment assets, where parking is often dictated by local code and increases construction costs exorbitantly.

But the implications for retail and industrial facilities are off the charts. Granted, this is long-range thinking, but we’re already seeing the merger of industrial and retail as providers such as Amazon strive for the Holy Grail of service--same-day delivery. Industrial facilities are moving closer into populace areas and not only futurists but real estate practitioners as well see the day when the two now-separate asset types merge--more or less--into one. The advent of driverless deliveries moves that vision one step closer to reality.

We mentioned parking and nowhere will automated vehicles have larger impact than in the American shopping center. As companies like Uber and Lyft grow their automated services, practitioners say vast acres of unused parking can be turned over to much-needed housing.

This may all sound very much like “The Jetsons,” but to quote another classic TV show of that era, we have the technology. Budweiser just proved that. And if you buy into Moore’s Law, which states that computing power doubles every 18 to 24 months as costs are cut in half, the Brave New World I just painted is not really that far off.

As managers with experience in virtually all of the above-mentioned property types, we at EBMC marvel at the place to which technology has taken us and we look with enthusiasm to how traditional real estate will respond.

After all, you adapt, or you get left behind.

Steve Burger, President

As president and COO of Eugene Burger Management Co., Steve Burger is directly responsible for the overall quality, depth and consistency of management services provided in all 15 regions in the EBMC coverage map.

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