Improving Residential and Commercial Building Stock

By James Carlini | Aug 15, 2017
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At the end of last year, I wrote an article about new business possibilities for electrical contractors in 2017.

In that article, I highlighted the ideas of building out new and existing commercial buildings to address the critical needs of 21st century, corporate tenants. The need to add on redundant intelligent amenities (power and broadband connectivity) to attract and maintain first-class corporate tenants was discussed. The market is ever-changing and building owners need to keep up. This applies to both commercial and residential properties.

I pointed out the need to update commercial buildings in every city: “With more people switching over to new edge technology, the demands for technology support on current buildings have changed. Every building’s facilities manager needs to review and redefine their requirements for redundant intelligent amenities (power and network infrastructures).”

If property owners and property management firms are not doing this, they will find out very quickly that corporate site-selection committees will pass over their buildings or business parks in favor of some other building in a different area. That other building may be across the city or in another state or region.

If the property manager does not close the sale, building occupancy may slip past the threshold of profitability and the building’s financial status will start eroding as well as the municipality’s viability. This is not a scare tactic. This is the reality of the 21st century real estate market as well as the concept of increasing regional sustainability. In some cases, it has come down to a matter of survival. No new corporate facilities, no jobs, no tax base and people moving out, equals a bankrupt town.

This was a clear opportunity for electrical contractors to exploit in all the metropolitan markets. In all municipalities, there are buildings in need of upgrades. I observed in that article: “Redundancy to support mission critical applications is a critical issue. It is a must-have and not just a ‘hoped-for’ building amenity in most, if not all, markets. More owners and property managers need to understand this, if they want to attract and maintain top-rate corporate tenants in the coming years.”

We are past the halfway point of the year. Where are the action plans to upgrade these properties? Where are the projects? Are these key issues being uncovered as opportunities or overlooked by those who failed to see the market shift?

Aging residential buildings

More and more homebuyers and apartment dwellers are also looking for buildings and apartment complexes that provide solid, high-speed connectivity to the internet as well. They want buildings which have high-speed internet access as well as redundant power coming in from two separate power grids, if possible.

The big reason? More people want redundancy in their residences because many are working from home for their jobs. Many have computers that need to hook up to corporate networks with broadband capabilities in order to do their jobs remotely.

The old horse-and-buggy days of having a single connection at the central office and one to the electrical power grid are long over. Redundancy brings resiliency to the end user and resiliency into their internet connections. Telecommuting is on the rise in many markets and people will pay more for buildings that have broadband connectivity.

In our own house, we have two separate broadband connections: AT&T U-verse and Comcast business. Our house has more network diversity than the vast majority of commercial properties.

How can you have a mission critical application if you only have one connection to one central office? As for residential properties, the need for routing diversity is increasing.

This is another opportunity electrical contractors should be exploiting this year. How many multitenant residential buildings and complexes are in your cities which need to upgrade their intelligent amenities? How many are your firms working on?

Municipalities should also be thinking about incorporating laws about upgrading intelligent amenities in multitenant buildings in their communities as well. They will attract and maintain more companies as well to add to their regional sustainability if they require better intelligent amenities (power and broadband connectivity) to be present in every building within their jurisdiction.

Improving the housing stock as well as the commercial building stock is something many municipalities need to address and should do so quickly. The competition for corporations to move their facilities into municipalities is very intense nationwide with all types of incentives (tax rebates, tax incentives, sales tax sharing, etc.) being thrown at corporate owners to convince them to build their facilities in a community.

Ever wonder why some communities are more viable than others? They keep track of what is important and focus on strengthening the rules and ordinances covering positive economic development. More building owners, as well as the municipalities, need to follow the old adage of, “You need to spend money, to make money.”

Remember, the three most important words in real estate today are location, location, connectivity and that’s the business you are in—connectivity.

About The Author

James Carlini, MBA, is a strategist for mission-critical networks, technology and intelligent infrastructure. He has been the president of Carlini & Associates since 1986. He is author of "LOCATION LOCATION CONNECTIVITY," a visionary book on the convergence of next-generation real estate, intelligent infrastructure, technology, and the global platform for commerce.

His “Platform for Commerce” definition of infrastructure and its impact on economic growth has also been referred to by the US ARMY Corps of Engineers in their Handbook, “Infrastructure and the Operational Art.” (2014)

His firm has been involved with applying advanced business practices, planning and designing mission critical network infrastructures for three decades.

He served as an award-winning adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University’s Executive Masters and undergraduate programs for two decades (1986-2006).  He has been the keynote speaker at national and international conferences.

He also appears in civil and federal courts as well as public utilities commission hearings as an expert witness in mission critical networks, network infrastructure and cabling issues.

He began his career at Bell Telephone Laboratories (real-time software engineering), AT&T (technical marketing & enterprise-wide network design support for major clients) and Arthur Young (now Ernst & Young, Director of Telecommunications & Computer Hardware consulting).

Contact him at [email protected] or 773-370-1888. Follow daily Carlini-isms at





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