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Gen Z: Disrupting the Commercial Real Estate Market

Updated: May 4, 2023

As the youngest generation currently in the workforce, Generation Z, or Gen Z, is making its mark on various industries, including commercial real estate. Born between 1997 and 2012, these digital natives are shifting the landscape of commercial real estate due to their unique preferences, values, and behaviors. In this article, we will explore how Gen Z is impacting the commercial real estate market and what this could mean for the future of the industry.

1. Remote Work and Flexibility

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work, and Gen Z, already well-acquainted with digital technology, was quick to adapt. This generation values flexibility and work-life balance, which has led to an increased demand for co-working spaces and flexible office arrangements. As a result, commercial real estate landlords have had to reevaluate their offerings and adapt to new tenant expectations.

2. Sustainable Buildings

Gen Z is particularly concerned about the environment and climate change. This concern has resulted in a growing demand for sustainable buildings that minimize their environmental impact. Commercial real estate developers are now incorporating green features such as energy-efficient systems, green roofs, and water-saving technologies to cater to this eco-conscious generation. Buildings that prioritize sustainability and have strong Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) credentials are more attractive to Gen Z tenants and employees.

3. Experience-driven Retail Spaces

Traditional brick-and-mortar retail has been under pressure for several years, but Gen Z has brought new energy to this sector. This generation values experiences over material possessions, leading to a shift in the retail landscape. Retail spaces are now being designed with an emphasis on creating immersive, interactive experiences that combine shopping, dining, and entertainment. Developers are focusing on creating retail destinations that foster a sense of community and provide unique, Instagram-worthy moments to attract and retain Gen Z customers.

4. The Rise of Mixed-Use Developments

Gen Z prefers urban living, with easy access to amenities, public transportation, and work opportunities. This preference has led to a surge in demand for mixed-use developments that combine residential, commercial, and retail spaces. These developments not only provide a convenient, walkable lifestyle but also contribute to the revitalization of urban areas. Commercial real estate developers and investors are recognizing this trend and focusing on developing projects that cater to the needs and preferences of Gen Z.

5. Technology Integration

As digital natives, Gen Z expects technology to be seamlessly integrated into their daily lives. In the commercial real estate sector, this translates to a greater emphasis on smart buildings that incorporate cutting-edge technology. High-speed internet, advanced security systems, and smart building management systems are now essential features to attract Gen Z tenants. Additionally, the integration of virtual reality and augmented reality in property marketing has become more prevalent, appealing to Gen Z's affinity for technology.


Gen Z is undoubtedly shaping the commercial real estate industry with its unique preferences and values. Commercial real estate stakeholders need to be responsive to these changes to remain competitive and relevant in the market. By focusing on sustainability, flexible workspaces, experience-driven retail, mixed-use developments, and technology integration, the commercial real estate industry can cater to this influential generation and continue to thrive.

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