Bobbi Jo Lazarus professional headshot

Interview: The Fusion of Technology, Data, and Regulations in Commercial Real Estate with Bobbi Jo Lazarus

With more than 10 years of experience in public accounting, Bobbi Jo is passionate about helping create success for her clients, her teammates and the firm. Last year, Bobbi Jo was named as one of Charlotte Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award winners. The award recognizes 40 of the region’s most accomplished business and civic minded professionals under 40 years of age.

What have been the biggest regulatory and legal changes impacting the commercial real estate industry and how have these changes impacted the industry?

The commercial real estate industry is no stranger to regulatory/legal challenges. Often, regulatory issues involve the development of new projects which we often see in rapidly growing cities like Charlotte. These issues can range anywhere from zoning changes to the expanding application of the Americans Disability Act (ADA).

One of the more recent regulatory changes is Title III of the JOBS Act that went into effect on May 16, 2016. It has opened the doors to crowdfunding for real estate companies, allowing them to find and access capital in new ways. Once limited to a friends and family network of accredited individuals, companies can now openly advertise their offers and entertain investors at a much smaller minimum buy-in.

How do you see regulation, data, and technology (in the commercial real estate industry) intersecting?

Technology is impacting every aspect of our world, and commercial development is no exception. With our smartphones enabling us to access information/data on the fly, we have come to expect this in all parts of our lives. The commercial real estate industry must keep up with this expectation. An example of this is the passing of Title III of the JOBS Act. As I mentioned, this has allowed real estate companies to crowdfund on a much larger platform than ever before which in turn has forced the industry to be more transparent.

Technology and regulation now give us the ability to see all the information related to an investment project at the touch of a button. Another side of the commercial real estate industry being impacted by our technology-driven world is the accessibility of secure internet (with security becoming an increasingly important part) everywhere we go. Retailers should make sure they are providing internet access to everyone who steps through their door while also giving online shoppers the ability to complete transactions quickly and securely.

What have been the advantages and/or challenges of this intersection? What will be the advantages and/or challenges?

The intersection has opened the real estate market up to investors of all backgrounds and has given them critical information to make the best and smartest investment. But, it has also proven to be a challenge because some of these investors don’t have the investing background to make the best decision and/or have the funds to absorb the potential loss.

The real estate industry will have to continue to weigh the risks and rewards of increasing transparency and crowdfunding investors. This intersection has also provided retailers the ability to access more consumers, but, with the rapid speed of technological changes, managing retail and consumer demands will be critical. Identifying those demands and integrating that into development plans for new real estate are challenges.

How have technology innovations and data intelligence transformed the industry to date?

There are numerous emerging areas where data and technology are impacting development. LEEDs development is changing everything from construction materials being used to control mechanisms for building environmental control systems. Tenant demand is a driving force in making developments more technologically advanced. Tenants want developments compatible with their smart phones, allowing them to control access to buildings.

Consumer shopping has already seen large impacts of technology innovations. To stay competitive, retailers must offer online stores with secure check-outs. With the increasing threat of cyber-attacks, retailers must continually update their security systems. This trend will continue and may even accelerate as companies like Amazon move into new sectors and experiment with new product delivery channels (drone delivery, for example, may not happen soon, but it is coming.)

How will technology and data intelligence transform the industry in the future?

The impact of technology and data intelligence will continue to accelerate and expand. Like the evolution from cell phones to smartphones, buildings and tenant spaces are now evolving to require access to data, the internet, and new technological capabilities. A key aspect will also be providing all this access and information on a secure platform. The industry must continue innovating and thinking ahead on all fronts. While buildings that integrate all the new technologies are already constructed every day, they must continue adapting to ever-evolving trends. Just search “the internet of things” to see how far reaching this has become.

Featured White Paper

How Middle Market Finance Teams are Preparing for a Recession

Our survey results uncover the middle market’s perception of the economy, priorities over the next 12 months and budget adjustments to account for a predicted recession.

We use cookies to improve your experience, personalize content and analyze our website’s performance. For more information on how we collect and use this information, please review our privacy policy.