Commercial real estate pros have eyed building life cycle trends for years now, and cycles seem to be getting shorter and shorter. Now, in light of the pandemic, flexibility has become even more of a concern for owners and tenants alike.

To remain relevant, developers are looking at new approaches to reusing historic spaces, using modular elements that can be demolished and replaced easily, and evaluating amenities that provide the best value throughout the life of the building.

First up are historic buildings, which tend to have a longer building life cycle than new builds. This doesn’t mean the owners of such historic spaces get to rest on their laurels, though. As a recent New York Times article pointed out, landmark buildings such as an original Coca-Cola bottling plant in downtown Indianapolis or even New York City’s Empire State Building still require updates to remain relevant in the modern commercial market. We recommend working with experienced architecture and design firms to renovate landmark buildings. After all, there will always be interest in reusing historic spaces.

Of course, not every building has historic value. New structures are making use of modular elements that can be easily disassembled and removed to meet changing needs. Modular office units can be installed, moved and removed inside a building (or outside). Raised floors can be installed to make future wiring upgrades easier. Need to update your HVAC system? Look for ventilation and air filtration systems that can be adapted to meet future needs. Making these seemingly simple upgrades can extend the functionality and life cycle of a building.

Finally, which amenities will provide the most utility over the life of the building? It may be tempting to chase trends and invest heavily in amenities that are popular at the moment, but we encourage you to look for additions that have staying power. Adding green space and biophilic design can help improve occupants’ wellbeing while adding value to the property.

At Belvoir, we keep an eye on commercial property trends (such as the growing shift toward 15-minute cities) and we can help you add value to your property for the long haul. Give us a call to talk about how to make the most of your building’s life cycle.