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Internet commerce may change industrial real estate

Many real estate developers in Wisconsin are already thinking about how to tailor their next commercial real estate projects to appeal to a rising market: the young people of Generation Z. It is the generation that follows the much-discussed Millennials, and its members were born in 1996 or later. While many "Gen Z" youth are too young to invest or buy into real estate projects, its oldest members are graduating from college, entering the workforce and developing their investment and real estate portfolios. As a result, developers are looking to create new projects with timeless appeal that also speak to the specific concerns and desires of this growing market.

While much has been said about the rise of online shopping and the potential threat that it presents to retail, it also introduces strong opportunities in the industrial and warehouse sectors. A growing number of distribution centers and warehouses, especially those close to large consumer markets, will need to be built as delivery becomes faster and closer to home. As internet commerce continues to grow, the physical infrastructure to support these sales will need increasing development. Another factor that could affect future industrial development is the growth in 3D printing. As the technology improves, people could order items to be printed to personal specifications, changing the face of manufacturing.

However, brick-and-mortar retail is also far from dead. Young people tend to seek out a community-like experience, so walkable, outdoor retail areas that resemble city centers can be an important part of mixed-use developments.

Many of these commercial real estate projects could present tremendous opportunities for investors seeking a profit. At the same time, construction projects, especially those incorporating new technologies, can also face delays and cost overruns. A real estate attorney can help investors protect their stake in a project and resolve disputes that emerge.

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