Life Science Real Estate Marketing

Life Science Real Estate Marketing

Life Science Real Estate Overview

Real estate owners and developers have increased interest in life science real estate assets with growing institutional investment in the sector led by groups such as Alexandria Real Estate, BioMed Realty, and Kilroy Realty. In the current uncertain environment, what makes life science assets attractive is often the non-cyclical demand and growing investments by governments and investors around the world. The specialized nature of life science real estate often makes clients moving locations less likely given the expense of building out an office and moving equipment. There have been reports in numerous trade publications regarding the high demand for life sciences space in excess of 2 million square feet per year with no slowdown in sight.

Life Science Marketing

Marketing life science real estate during Covid has required a retooling of the branding kit and moving marketing dollars from physical mock-ups to virtual build-outs. It is even more important for life science marketing to be tech-forward in order to attract their tech savvy and location-picky tenants. From complicated HVAC build outs to expensive and heavy equipment; labs require an additional layer of planning. Visualizations and virtual walk-throughs can lead to better planning resulting in significant cost and time savings for both landlords and tenants.

While marketing life science projects like Cascadian, the location being near the city center or other innovation hubs is important, but highlighting what differentiates the property from competitors needs to stand out given the increase in developers building out the space. In smaller markets it could be the amenities, near mass transit or the newer nature of the building, but in markets known for life science offices like Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles really gearing the branding and messaging becomes paramount.

Having visualizations, whether it’s a fly-through animation, still renderings or virtual reality is an important element of asset positioning in attracting tenants. The immersive experience provides clarity to potential tenants about the project and surrounding areas and helps pinpoint key elements that are most important to them and deliver the feedback in a faster and more effective manner.

Virtual Tours for Commercial Real Estate

Virtual Tours for Commercial Real Estate

Showing a property remotely to a potential buyer or tenant is not new, but the delivery method is changing. Over the years there have been large advancements in technology for built spaces (Matterport falls under this category). However, technology has often lagged for unbuilt spaces, such as pre-construction sites, outdated buildings or raw spaces, with owners still relying on expensive model units or building out spec TI. Now both software and hardware (VR headsets, cellphone processing speeds) have improved, but uptake among real estate users varies greatly.

Since the start of Covid and the dramatic decrease in onsite tours, we have seen dramatic differences among owners and brokers’ utilization of technology. Some groups are waiting to lease-up until after their delayed construction processes pick up again, while we’ve seen other groups rapidly improve their whole online presence, from property websites featuring virtual walk-throughs, different tenant improvement build-out templates, and fly-through videos highlighting neighborhood and building key areas that might not be visible during Covid.

Many different groups have reached out: tech firms looking to sub-lease, brokers and owners looking to pre-lease/pre-sell, developers and funds looking to raise capital remotely, all with slightly different goals but most settling on similar tech solutions. One thing is clear from all the increased inquiries: commercial real estate is long overdue for a digital update and virtual tours have become part of the new normal.

Clients are now expecting to “see” proposed renovation plans more clearly than they could from blueprints. Some of the common visualization terms and concepts are:

360 Tours – Users can click hot spots on a map and look at 360-degree views from that spot. Similar to Google Maps but useful for large floorplans or entire neighborhoods. We had REOCs use this for planning commission meetings. Also had brokers request the product for pre-leasing, especially retail/office within mixed-use developments.

360 Example

Flythrough Animations – Similar to 360 Tours, but the client drives the views and the story-telling. We saw it used for everything from pre-selling new condo and office projects to showcasing to LPs the proposed value-add plans. Given the halt of on-sites, some funds are also using these to give prospective investors “virtual tours” of assets in the portfolio.

Architectural Animation Example

Virtual Reality – This was popular at sales and leasing centers pre-pandemic, as well as at fund AGMs pre-COVID. Since COVID, headset usage has mostly been replaced by desktop versions where users would walk through a space with their keyboard and mouse.

Virtual Reality Examples

Value-add Real Estate Technology:

-Potential tenants often have issues visualizing what a space can look like. Virtual content can be customized to a tenant type in mind whether it’s creative office or life science lab space. Even multiple virtual build-outs cost a fraction of one physical build-out.

-Content can be viewed on-site or remotely; content can also be used in targeted marketing.

-Instead of having tenants visit 20 properties in person; they can review them all from their brokers’ office or their own office, and then view the top 2-3 in person.

-One of the interesting aspects of virtual tours that is often overlooked by owners is the SEO and branding benefits. Per an Omnivirt Study, compared to 2D content, 360/virtual content receives 300% more click-throughs, as well as resonating better with tech-forward professionals.

-While branding/websites should not be considered proptech, it’s an important part of programming an asset that’s often overlooked for commercial properties. Modern websites set the tech-forward message that many developers are trying to convey.

Virtual Tours for Real Estate During the Coronavirus

Virtual Tours for Real Estate During the Coronavirus

Today’s real estate market is unrecognizable to most of us. Construction is crawling, existing buildings are empty, buyers are backing out, tenants are requesting rent relief and businesses of all kinds are either closing or significantly reducing staff. These trends are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, which, needless to say, is causing headwinds for real estate participants. Owners and brokers, for example, are now scrambling to improve their digital presence and somehow show their property remotely.

Showing a property to a potential buyer or tenant remotely is not new, but the delivery method has changed. Over the years there have been large advancements in technology for built spaces, this includes tools like Matterport. However, technology has often lagged for pre-construction, old or raw spaces, with owners still relying on in-person sales offices and expensive model units.

In an effort to work remotely, many owners are using video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams to pitch clients about the property. These platforms are great for having a conversation, but if there is limited digital content, the calls often fall short. In today’s market, having a competitive digital presence means a sophisticated website, fly-through videos and a virtual tour experience.

One of the companies active in the virtual tour space is Radical Galaxy Studio, which has been making advancements to improve virtual real estate experiences. Even if an owner wanted to show what a vacant office space would look like for a tech or medical tenant, Radical Galaxy could build that out.

“As a real estate asset manager, I saw firsthand the impact of new technologies on the way we design, develop, manage and sell real estate,” Bradley Snyder Managing Partner at Radical Galaxy Studio commented. “Not only can tenants and buyers no longer tour a property or space in person, but even when they could, often they could not visualize what it would look like fully built out.”

One of the interesting aspects of virtual tours that is often overlooked by owners is the SEO and branding benefits. Compared to 2D content, 360/virtual content receives 300% more click-throughs, as well as resonates better with tech-forward professionals, per an Omnivirt Study.

“Most real estate properties are long overdue for a digital update, but all of a sudden now having strong digital content can make or break a property’s success,” said Matthew Shaffer Managing Partner at Radical Galaxy Studio. “Using virtual tours will become part of the new normal in the real estate industry for both commercial and residential assets.”

About Radical Galaxy:

Radical Galaxy Studio, LLC is a visualization firm that is pushing the boundaries of what can be done in real estate design, sales and leasing. Radical Galaxy creates virtual tours, CGI animations, motion renderings, still renderings, augmented reality and virtual reality for industry leading firms including Oxford Properties, Brookfield Properties, Perkins + Will, Marriott, Cushman Wakefield and Hyatt Hotels.

ULI Spring Nashville Speaking Engagement

ULI Spring Nashville Speaking Engagement

Radical Galaxy was invited to speak at the Spring 2019 ULI Meeting in Nashville. The Spring Meeting is an exclusive event for ULI Full Members which are some of the most senior and influential leaders in real estate.

Radical Galaxy spoke about the various uses of virtual and augmented reality and how Radical Galaxy is helping to maximize their clients IRRs. The firm pushes the boundaries between reality and technology, allowing owners and clients alike to envision a radical new world.

Radical Galaxy demoed various projects at the event from high rise condos, large multi-use complexes to master planned communities. Within AR and VR clients have the ability to review numerous options and make decisions such as changing structural elements and choosing from a variety materials for the walls and floors. Everything that is seen in the virtual world is what the space will look like in the real world once the project is complete. VR also allows the process of finalizing plans to become straightforward for all parties involved including, architects, interior designers, engineers and the client. In turn, there is less of a need to coordinate schedules to meet in person to discuss projects. Each user can be anywhere in the world and see what is going on from a computer or headset.

“I’m extremely pleased to have been invited to speak with the ULI CDC council about the usage of augmented and virtual reality in real estate,” said Matthew Shaffer of Radical Galaxy.

The main conference’s extensive speaker line-up included: Andrew Beaird of Core Development, Dave Bagg of Green Street Advisors, Adam Ducker of RCLCO, Erwin Effler of Ryan Companies, Rich Monopolo of Boston Properties, Phil Payne of Ginko Residential, Michael Spies of Tishman Speyer and Rick Wood of Chestnut Real Estate.

If you want to learn more about the conference please go to

Custom Home Builder:  Forward Thinking with Virtual Reality

Custom Home Builder: Forward Thinking with Virtual Reality

Although he doesn’t advertise it as such, Lochwood-Lozier is a design/build firm, and it also takes on projects designed by outside architects, building eight to 10 custom homes per year and doing about 15 to 20 remodels. Typical homes measure 5,500 to 6,000 square feet and cost anywhere from $1.5 million to $1.6 million, not including the land. The budget for a recent remodel was $3.4 million.

Clients purchasing custom builds at that level are discerning and sophisticated, particularly in the high-tech demographic that makes up Lozier’s market.

Along with personal attention and today’s typical basket of e-marketing tools—Houzz, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter—Lozier takes it a step further by using virtual reality to better connect his clients with their projects. “So many people have difficulty understanding 2D plans,” he says. “Even in SketchUp it’s not quite the same level of realism.”

Virtual reality (VR) offers a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment in which viewers can interact with their surroundings—not to be confused with augmented reality (AR), which adds digital elements to a live view.

While more and more architects have turned to VR to share projects with clients or collaborate on work, not many builders are using it. “I don’t know of any other design/build contractors doing this,” Lozier says. “It’s not a common thing—yet.”

Lochwood-Lozier teamed up with Seattle-based Radical Galaxy, which works with companies to create VR, AR, and mixed-reality material for their projects. It works this way: After Lozier’s (or the external) architects have designed a home and made the selections (floor, tile, wall color, hard surfaces, sometimes furniture) with their client’s input, they send Radical Galaxy 2D drawings as DWG files. These include floor plans, elevations, dimensions, measurements—“basically what would be in a 2D set of drawings,” Lozier says. In a process that takes about two to three weeks, Radical Galaxy inputs that information into its program and produces a VR file…

…Clients come to the office, put on a headset, and get to virtually walk through their home. Some opt for an exterior and interior look, and some just look at particular rooms. “They can check for potential problems,” Lozier says. For example, one client used the system to go through his kitchen. He realized the distance between the bar table and the kitchen island was too narrow. Lozier’s team was able to revise the drawing in CAD to make that space more comfortable. They sent the file back to Radical Galaxy and then had the client walk through again to sign off on it.

…VR walkthrough—ranges from $8,000 to $20,000. Most of that is for programming and the tremendous number of hours that go into production. But Lozier says the cost is not bad when you’re building a $5 million project and you have a hard time visualizing what’s on paper. “This is truly some of the best money you can spend on this level,” he says. “Think of the cost of a change order in the field; the cost of VR could be miniscule. I haven’t had a client tell me it wasn’t money well spent.”

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