Fandom Geekonomics, and What’s Ruining Commercial Real Estate

As anyone that follows my news summaries and geekonomic posts knows, I'm following the meltdown of commercial real estate. No, don't stop reading, this is probably less boring than some of my geekonomic posts.  Promise.

So, anyway, if you've at all been following the news about the economic apocalypse, commercial real estate is proving to have problems.  Much like housing, prices are down, occupancy is down, and the market is kind of screwy.  Offices and places of business just aren't that occupied

Beyond all the usual reasons about why this is, I'm wondering if commercial real estate now and in the future is going have trouble not just because of the economy and overdone loans but because of changes in business and technology – because, in short, well, kind of because of people like us.

NON-LOCALITY: We've got cloud computing, web apps, and all sorts of ways to do business everywhere.  That means companies (and individuals) can work anywhere.  This means commercial real estate and business properties are in competition with each other everywhere. 

WORK AT HOME: Forget business locations, its easier to work at home because of technology.  Why even get office space for everyone when you can have them work at home?  It could save everyone money – except the people trying to rent office space.

HOME BUSINESS: On the heels of working at home, in a tough economy, if you're starting your own business why get an office?  Just start it at home anyway.   At times I wonder if a lot of up-and-coming businesses are starting habit of not needing typical facilities.

NON-STANDARD BUSINESSES:  Geeks, nerds, otaku, and fans aren't up for the typical business arrangements.  How many companies managing office real estate and such are thinking about the kinds of businesses they want to attract?  How many of them are run by people like us who don't want the typical office?

NOT READY: How much office space out there is equipped for the technology people want to use?  Is it wired right?  Is the cell reception good?  Is the public transportation good (and good enough in these changing times)?  Geeks know what the future brings, and that business space better be ready for the modern business – which inevitably has a geeky component.

Commercial real estate is having enough trouble as it is.  I think the high-tech businesses, geeky businesses, and home businesses aren't playing the old real estate game in the same way.  That's going to make it tougher for those in the commercial real estate business.

– Steven Savage