Magnify Glass of Real Estate Market

Global Wellness Real Estate Market Surging Throughout Pandemic 

Wellness real estate is defined as “commercial, institutional, and residential properties that incorporate wellness elements in their architecture and amenities,” according to the nonprofit Global Wellness Institute (GWI).

GWI explained that throughout the past few years the wellness real estate market has seen exponential growth, even with the pandemic. 

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“The pandemic fueled the shift in the real estate and construction industries toward wellness: from 2019-2020, wellness real estate continued to grow by over 22%, even as overall construction shrank,” the organization reported.

GWI held their annual Wellness Real Estate and Communities Symposium this week in New York where they discussed the market as it currently stands, and ways to continue to expand and improve it. 

“The wellness real estate market as a continuing opportunity, driven in part from lessons learned during COVID. Doctors, architects and wellness professionals have come together to introduce preventive medicine intentions into the way we design the built environment as a preventative medicine tool,” shared presenter and sponsor Paul Scialla, CEO of wellness technology firm Delos.

“The pandemic has driven the idea of ‘building for human health’ into the mainstream consumer consciousness, and the recent market growth far exceeded our predictions.”

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The US and China alone account for 60% of the overall total wellness real estate market. GWI estimates that there are more than 2300 wellness projects worldwide in various stages of development and completion; three years ago that number was around 740. 

GWI attributes the growth in the industry to many factors, including many brought on by the pandemic; “stress, loneliness, remote work and an increasing eco-consciousness in the public sphere.”

“The pandemic has definitely brought the wellness real estate concept more into focus. COVID forced us to see our homes and built environment in a radically new light. Wellness real estate is now quickly moving from elective to essential.”

According to GWI vice president of research and forecasting, Beth McGroarty, the pandemic drove trends in wellness real estate thanks to a multitude of factors, such as advanced technology, remote working procedures, and affordability depending on the area.

Mural Art

Will 2020 See The Return of Mural Art?

Modern interior decoration has hit somewhat of a wall in terms of creativity in recent years. Gone are the days of bold geometric patterns, statement rugs and motif wallpaper that defined the aesthetic of many of the 20th century decades. The contemporary look is characterized by its minimalist features, often favoring a monochrome palette with perhaps one feature color.

Walls do little but contain a room nowadays, and it is unusual to see a particularly colourful room or feature walls. In short, the potential of walls as a creative space in both commercial and private settings is being hugely restricted, with all the effort and thought being put on furnishings and accessories to deliver the character of an inside space. There is now a need to reintroduce some old interior decoration trends, to reawaken the personality of walls, and many believe that mural art is the answer.

Mural art dates back centuries and spans cultures, but has all but disappeared from modern interior design. The modern mural is most commonly associated with street art and usually found on the exteriors of buildings, often carrying some political or social statement. However, the art of interior mural has become somewhat of a rarity in an age where simple painted walls reign, punctuated by the odd pattern-papered feature wall. When compared to the creativity and allure achieved by the likes of Keith Haring’s street pop-art or José Clemente Orozco’s sombre social realism, walls simply do not create the excitement that they once did.

While the way spaces are decorated has remained fairly static, how we choose to furnish these spaces is certainly changing. There is an emerging discrepancy between the characteristic furniture we fill rooms with and the walls that surround it. Rich, moody colour palettes accented with dark wood and metallics are trending heavily, invoking a degree of personality that is not met by your average painted wall. A detailed focal point can tie a well-furnished room together beautifully, and provide a consistent theme that can be complemented with different furniture trends as the years roll by.

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The mural is capable of fulfilling almost any creative idea, and is beginning to be embraced by a new wave of followers. With the vast possibilities of modern painting and application techniques, and more styles and artistic movements than ever to take inspiration from, the mural is reaching new heights and doing what plain paint and wallpaper cannot: delivering a unique and completely tailored look to interior spaces that truly reflect the character of the building, or its occupants. From palaces to bedrooms, mural art has redefined itself in terms of its versatility and sheer scope for artistic creativity, and it is the ultimate way to bring focus and personality to any indoor space.

Of course, being typically found in such grand locations as ocean liners and cathedrals does nothing for the mural’s opulent reputation. Many consider mural art to be the playground of the rich and famous, who can afford the time and expertise of a professional artist to personalize their walls, and this misconception is a contributing factor to the mural’s lack of real comeback. By employing the services of a live artist, they can tailor their approach to any style or budgetary requirements, using their creative versatility to deliver a unique product that meets the needs of the client. When comparing the one-off cost of hiring an artist—and all the years of experience and skill they give you for the fee—with the mass-produced vinyl wall art substitutes that saturate online stores, whose lack of durability, quality and uniqueness make for a short lifetime, real mural art emerges victorious.

Of course, the more commercial and formal settings like clubs and hotels begin to break out of their comfort zones and explore more interesting interior design ideas, the more mural art and its endless possibilities begin to be recognized. This isn’t to say that mural art is the exclusive territory of public spaces, though. Although in the past it may have been largely limited to children’s bedrooms in domestic settings, the mould most certainly needs to be broken. The boundaries currently encircling mural art need to be broken for it to be recognized as one of the most personal and expressive forms of interior decoration.

Now is the time for mural art to see a revival, by breaking free of the inaccurate associations it is often held to. Murals are no longer for the ceilings of cathedrals or the walls of stately homes, or just for telling a story or exposing societal injustice. It is a vehicle for unique characterization of indoor spaces, that reflect the people who live or visit there—a literal blank canvas, just waiting to be explored.


How the Collapse of WeWork Could Impact NYC Real Estate

WeWork, a company responsible for leasing up to 1 million square feet of office space in cities around the world every day, has recently run into serious financial difficulties have raised concerns about the impact on New York City’s real estate market. In large part as a result of then-CEO Adam Neumann’s questionable and irresponsible antics, WeWork’s parent operation, the We Company, saw its valuation cut in half overnight right as the company was preparing to go public. As such, the We Company lost $1.3 billion in the first half of this year alone, which works out to a loss of $5,200 per customer. Several thousand layoffs at the company are planned, and the We Company’s more ambitious projects, such as the WeGrow academy, an entrepreneurial school, have been canceled

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WeWork happens to be the largest office tenant in New York City, as it owns over 100 locations in Manhattan, occupying 8.9 million square feet of office space. WeWork operates by maintaining office space and renting it out to professionals; however, in the aftermath of the company’s rapid decline, exactly what will happen to this tremendous amount of space WeWork is leasing is unclear. WeWork rose to prominence by offering flexible opportunities for urban professionals, and while the company is currently in decline with a low probability of recovery, the philosophy of flexibility in working environments is likely to stick around. 

That’s because, while the business itself is failing, the business model WeWork popularized has taken off both among rival companies that lease office space and landlords themselves. While it remains the most notable example, WeWork did not invent the industry it occupies, and there exist a plethora of companies that are primed to take WeWork’s place in providing so-called coworking spaces, many of which pre-date the founding of WeWork. And according to industry reports, demand for spaces of this sort remains strong, as consumers appreciate the sort of freedom that flexible office space provides. As such, when WeWork’s leases expire, there’s nothing stopping landlords from adopting their business model with the office space they own, increasing revenues for corporate landlords and potentially reducing costs for clients.

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As WeWork generally doesn’t run entire buildings, instead leasing a small percentage of them, the fallout from WeWork’s likely collapse is predicted to be relatively minor. In fact, landlords are already developing contingency plans for WeWork’s anticipated demise. That being said, not every company is abandoning WeWork, as they continue to generate new clients such as Rudin Management Company, which will soon open a six-story glass building in Brooklyn Navy Yard, with WeWork as its primary tenant. What’s more, large multinational corporations like Verizon and IBM have taken advantage of WeWork’s coworking spaces, as have Microsoft and Airbnb. That being said, these large companies would also likely be able to handle WeWork’s collapse, as they have the resources to maintain usage of office space currently leased to WeWork.

Though WeWork brands itself as a disruptive technology startup like Uber and Postmates, the reality is that WeWork is more like a glorified property-management company. Although the hype associated with WeWork’s tech-centered approach is responsible for much of its early success, technology turned out not to be a major factor in the company’s operation. While the future of WeWork as a whole remains uncertain but looks fairly dire, the future of coworking spaces is likely as bright as it’s ever been, as companies seek to take advantage of the flexibility such arrangements can provide.