What if we never had to see an industrial building like a warehouse or factory ever again? With new technology, it’s possible that all industrial spaces will soon be relocated completely out of the view of everyday life.
As industrial spaces move underground and underwater, the world above will be open to new real estate opportunities. And those opportunities may grow even greater as semi trucks, freight trains and other vehicles begin operating autonomously and move underground along with the spaces they serve.
But what does this mean for you?
“Invisible” industrial space isn’t a far-fetched future ideal. In fact, it already exists in places like Kansas City, where 10 percent of the commercial real estate is underground. SubTropolis, a massive underground complex built in an evacuated mine, has actually been operating in Kansas City since 1964. Many SubTropolis tenants are attracted to the space by the promise of lower energy costs and cheaper rent.
Widespread use of underwater buildings may be further off, but they too already exist. Particularly in the field of horticulture, underwater biospheres like those currently operating off the coast of Italy have the potential to disrupt farming as we know it today.
As more people begin to realize the benefits of making industrial space invisible, the majority of industrial development will move underground and underwater.
As this trend grows, tunnels will move underground to make way for the trains, semis and other vehicles that serve underground spaces. A significant portion of above-ground industrial transportation infrastructure will become obsolete and the space it once occupied will become available for redevelopment or use for more efficient passenger travel.
Industrial spaces are a logical first step for underground and underwater development, but after they’ve been perfected, more types of real estate will move to these spaces. Underwater restaurants, hotels and other leisure destinations have already been planned, but many investors still see them as too risky. The success of industrial underwater spaces is sure to change their thinking.
Until underground and underwater industrial space becomes the norm, it may take a leap of faith for investors to get on board with the concept. To help close an underground or underwater deal, position the space you’re representing as a “new frontier” of industrial commercial real estate and emphasize the benefits of getting in on the trend early.
Though these spaces may be futuristic, your approach to marketing them should still call upon the proven best practices you employ with traditional industrial spaces. You should also take care to emphasize the benefits of moving underground like energy efficiency and increased security.
The invisible industrial real estate trend is a positive thing for CRE as a whole. Once all warehouses move underground and underwater, their previous buildings can be redeveloped for other uses with the latest technologies, creating new, cutting-edge real estate opportunities for leisure, retail, residential, and more. This will open a world of possibilities for you and your brokerage.
To learn more about updated warehouse usage and streets free of semis, check out our blog on a future with self-driving vehicles.