COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE TRYING TO KEEP UP WITH DIGITAL DEMAND January 26, 2022 | Investment , CRE News | real estate trends , building renovation , warehouse , special purpose facility If you’ve been following the news lately, it’s hard not to notice how the headlines are being dominated by everything digital. From NFTs to the metaverse, the online world continues to expand into new frontiers. This has also had an impact on the physical world and commercial real estate specifically. Storing and Supporting the Digital Realm As more people get plugged in, the need for data storage and server centers has skyrocketed. More dedicated equipment is needed to support the massive influx of users and make the online experience more enjoyable. Close to 8 million square feet was planned and built in 2021, almost doubling the amount from 2019. Tech giants like Facebook and Google have been snatching up whatever available commercial space they can find. What’s Needed The simple answer to what tech companies need is land, and lots of it. On average, around 100,000 square feet is needed for a data storage center. It’s also important that the build site for these centers is as close as possible to the population they’re serving. This allows for faster repair times and provides the best product to customers. Many locations are close to power centers since they require a lot of energy to stay running. As for the buildings themselves, they have some specific needs. Building for Bulk With so much equipment and a whole assortment of components needed to run a data center, the buildings themselves have to be specially outfitted. The weight of the rows of server racks can pile up, and the floors under them need reinforced to support it. There’s also the necessity for electricity that’ll stand up to the workload. Having back-up power on-site as well is needed in case an outage happens. To make the best use of the space, flexibility is key, as servers are changed out and moved to where they’re most effective. Pushback on New Construction The sprawl of data centers has led to opposition from communities that could find themselves neighboring the giant storage facilities. Having a server farm by your home isn’t exactly a selling point for many homeowners. This has led to a standoff between the two as tech companies try to match the demand and homeowners protect their communities. One workaround until an agreement has been reached is renovating abandoned properties. While renovating older structures is easier than constructing new ones, it’s still been difficult to keep up with the demand. A Possible Workaround In addition to finding suitable existing alternatives for data centers, there’s been the new rise of scaling them down. Edge data centers provide power and a more attractive look for both sides. Edge centers aim to bring the end product closer to the user by being more adaptable. Instead of a hundred thousand square foot warehouse, you now can use something like an old office or storefront. The dedicated servers will give a more personalized experience and boost up a property that might otherwise be lagging behind. Contact National Property Inspections for Your Building's Inspection Needs NPI has local licensed inspectors available to assist you with your commercial property needs. To find an inspector near you, call our National Accounts Department at 1-800-333-9807 ext. 30. For more information, visit npicommercial.com .