Whether you or your tenant rep are flying them, drones are amazingly powerful tools to help you in commercial site selection. While the site selection process might seem like it is heavily weighted towards numbers -- area demographics, space measurements, financial metrics, and the like -- at the simplest level, the building is something that everyone sees. Having a better view of the buildings and locations that you are considering gives you a deeper understanding. It also helps put you in the shoes of the employees, vendors, and customers that will be interacting with your site.


Understanding the Area

Demographics tell part of the story of an area, but getting at street level fills in the rest of what you need to do. Using a drone to pre-surveil locations helps you understand it more deeply. By flying up a few (or a hundred and a few) feet, you see the real layout of an area. The view is more natural than satellite imagery, but you can still see signs, traffic lights, and other buildings. This helps you project how your location will fit in the greater area.


Seeing the Building

Unless you're doing a build-to-suit, commercial site selection within a given area is all about the building. And there's really no better way to see it than with a drone or with drone footage. Want a front view? Corner view? Angled view of the entire park? Any of those are easy to capture as still or video images, and you can quickly and easily get everything you need.  Furthermore, drone quality images frequently give you a more impressive presentation to make to your company's real estate decision making infrastructure, helping them help you to get your sites placed.


Inspecting the Building

As you start the process of working with a specific building, drones give you a deeper view of the property than you can get without significant investments of time and money. A roof inspection doesn't take a ladder -- just a drone, a camera, and a slow hand. Elevator shafts, crawl spaces, plenum spaces and the like can be much easier to inspect by drone than through traditional means. In fact, having a drone will probably enable you to do better inspections than ever before. When you're leasing space on a triple-net basis and taking responsibility for it on an as-is basis, the more you know up front, the fewer surprises you risk running into during your occupancy.


Being There for Commercial Site Selection

Finally, drone video lets you get a more realistic view of the area.  With a drone, it's easy to simulate driving in to work, or walking through a space. You can hover at rush hour and see how the property interacts with the road grid to make sure that there aren't unreasonable bottlenecks.  While these capabilities might seem intangible and "soft," they speak directly to the kind of issues that you and your team will face in the space. Understanding them can be key to selecting a site that drives productivity, satisfaction and retention.


Drones are powerful tools for commercial site selection. Whether it's your field representatives capturing footage or you are requesting it from your tenant rep (who might request it from the landlord rep), requiring enhanced still and video imagery will equip you to make better decisions.


Here are some other articles to check out:

7 Commercial Leasing Due Diligence Tips

You Need a Tenant Rep Broker: Here’s Why


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