Research Revolution: Increasingly Popular Software Simplifies Strategic Site Analysis and Research

By Mirel, Diana | Journal of Property Management, November-December 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Research Revolution: Increasingly Popular Software Simplifies Strategic Site Analysis and Research

Mirel, Diana, Journal of Property Management

When it comes to developing new property sites and filling vacant ones, it's hard to ignore the age-old real estate adage: location, location, location. While finding and selecting lucrative locations without missteps and faulty investments is challenging, software is helping real estate professionals make sound decisions.


"There is a lot more pressure on all people involved in real estate not to make mistakes in real estate investments and also to be able to monitor the performance of their assets," said Jim Stone, president and founder of geoVue, a site-selection software company based in Woburn, Mass.

To alleviate some of that pressure, real estate professionals are increasingly relying on site-selection software--a research tool helping them make site selections more accurately; manage portfolios more efficiently; and minimize the risk of unsuitable properties.

Nuts and bolts

Most site-selection software in today's market share fundamental features like the ability to obtain a comprehensive demographic report and digital maps describing the population, average income, weather conditions, highway accessibility and other descriptive traits of areas by entering specific state, city or even intersection-level details.

Because the software is helpful in selecting sites, it is geared more toward assisting tenant clients than building owners or property managers, said Mike Henderson, director of location analysis at Cushman and Wakefield, a New York City-based commercial services firm.

In the long run, property managers could benefit from tenants staying in locations longer as a result of selecting profitable sites based on insightful information the software provides, Henderson said.

Stone said site-selection software can help users hone in on the best prospective properties, offering advantages like perspective, competitive analysis and efficiency. Speaking to the software's advantages, Stone said geoVue's business has tripled since 2001.

Software at work

Site-selection software is especially helpful when the decision of where to set up shop requires consideration of several cities or building sites, Henderson said. Cushman and Wakefield helps clients determine the best location for plants, offices, distribution centers and other facilities.

Henderson created an in-house site analysis program at Cushman and Wakefield, ranking sites based on demographic input pertaining to a site and the weight clients put on certain characteristics they're seeking in an area. The program ranks each site's suitability according to clients' needs. Clients are then presented with each city's or building's specific score.

"We determine what categories are more important and put a weight on those," Henderson said. "Then within each of the categories there are subcategories, and we figure out weights within there. At the end, there is a formula that gives every city a point on a one to 10 scale; it could be 1.2 versus 9.6."

Typical demographic criteria include population composition, expected population growth, population within certain age groups, education levels, business costs, taxes, real estate costs, labor components, distance from airports or freeways and climate.

Competitive edge

Stone's geoVue software also relies on demographic information, helping clients make more informed decisions.

Grubb & Ellis New Mexico, AMO, based in Albuquerque, N.M., uses geoVue's software to analyze their properties' demographics and do competitive analysis when working with retailers renting space.

"We'll look at competition around the city or around a trade area, and the software gives us feedback for the retailer about where the competition is located and the demographic makeup of the area," said Ken Schaefer, director of brokerage services.

For further accuracy, Grubb & Ellis New Mexico subscribes to online lists of companies by the North American Industry Classification System code--a system providing compatibility statistics about business activity across North America--and then compiles the information gathered from these lists in an Excel spreadsheet.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Research Revolution: Increasingly Popular Software Simplifies Strategic Site Analysis and Research


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?