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  • jerry woods

The Metaverse and Development

Looking to build, lease, or buy commercial real estate like a storefront, a strip mall or even trying to make a play on a foreclosed marina? Look no further than your computer. The metaverse is the new frontier for commercial real estate!

Deals are taking place every day — with real money — in an emerging digital ecosystem. And if you’re confused by any of this, don’t worry —many of the leading developers and commercial real estate brokers are as well.

LoopNet a real estate brokerage company is already in the space adding metaverse experts’ to answer questions from curious consumers, potential buyers, and eager first adapters.

The important thing to know is that the next iteration of your business could be coming from your kid’s iPad. The main question for many developers is “what are the parallels between virtual and tradition real estate”? Things like leasing agreements, deed transfers, and land grabs could just as easily transpire on your iPad as opposed to a meeting room.

Projects already taking place in the metaverse involving everyone ranging from the average Joe ordering delivery in a three-dimensional digital Chipotle to medical students practicing surgery in virtual operating rooms. Futurists will tell you that the metaverse will be all those things and more, eventually amounting to a better, more autonomous, and more fully immersive version of the Internet.

For Developers there are the three main ways the metaverse currently supplements — and in some cases, ever so slightly competes with — traditional commercial real estate:

  • Commerce — Retail, Marketing, and Entertainment;

  • Productivity — Workplaces and Conferences; and

  • Architectural Visualization — Digital Twins and Virtual Tours.

One of the simplest ways an expert explained the online 3D worlds (the metaverse) is that they represent the “next iteration of the internet.” Having a presence in a virtual reality metaverse will one day be as essential as having a website.

For example in the ’80s, there was only one way for Nike to sell a pair of shoes that were in a store, in a mall. Then the Internet became a second way for Nike to sell a pair of shoes. The metaverse presents a third way, [which combines elements of both], and we call it v-commerce.

With a finite amount of “land” mandated into the user-based constitution of most of the 3D blockchain worlds like Decentraland and The Sandbox “virtual real estate developers” like TerraZero have been buying deeds to “land” on the blockchain and jockeying to become their cyberspace landlords. If you are a smaller developer, now is the time to move!

Big business is happening on virtual platforms led by Generation Z (born in 1997 and on) and even the younger Generation Alpha. Block chain-based metaverse worlds like Decentraland are natural transmutations of gaming environments, like Fortnite and Minecraft. Given the popularity of proto-metaverses like Fortnite and Minecraft, brands know they’ll have a captive audience in the younger generations that are drawn to them, and they’re starting to realize they can target parents as well with schemes like a virtual Miller Lite “bar” during Super bowl week or even JPMorgan's virtual bank lounge, Onyx, which is in a "mall" in Decentraland.

Real Estate will be considered infrastructure and the rights to use it stand to make someone a lot of money. It’s an opportunity to get in somewhere that has so many eyes on it for a fraction of the cost of brick and mortar.

Wal-Mart recently filed patents that herald a big push into the metaverse, which may include massive 3D stores. The world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer has been hinting at VR shopping experiences since at least 2017. Panera has trademarked “Paneraverse,” for example, to offer “virtual restaurants and cafes … wherein users can earn reward points and virtual currency which may be used to purchase food and beverages.” Brands like Gucci, Ikea, Nike, and Louis Vuitton, just to name a few are already splashing around in the metaverse targeting Gen Z.

Similar to the 3D, avatar-based interfaces of games like Fortnite or metaverse worlds like Decentraland, and Virbela mimics the real world but is structured to facilitate learning, working, and gathering for events and conferences. The next evolution of WeWork will be “virtual workrooms,” and all of them will be “built, in some way, on virtual real estate. In most cases, the platforms geared to host these virtual workrooms and offices will act as landlords, but some companies are taking the initiative upon themselves and purchasing “land” in the types of decentralized metaverse worlds where anyone can bring to fruition what they wish.

From offices to tech startups, to churches will be able to build a customized campus or office space, similar to their brick and mortar square footage. With relatively the same digital footprint, instead of working with contractors that put up drywall, you’re working with developers that build this virtual gaming asset that can mimic whatever it is they're trying to do. Even commercial real estate heavyweights like CBRE have explored working in the metaverse. Some webinar and conference stakeholders are also migrating to virtual reality platforms like Virbela and MootUp, to host events.

Design, planning, and brokerage firms across the world are using gaming companies like Epic Games’ Unreal Engine software framework to create hyper-realistic, 3D digital twins of actual or planned buildings, with a wide range of applications including brokers hosting immersive, first-person-view tours showing the view from different units in a multifamily building and developers seeing entire cities being represented as a hyper-realistic metaverse.

For the metaverse the real questions are “if you build it, will they come?” and try to uncover what virtual real estate is worth. BHI will be able to help with any of your traditional or metaverse needs. Contact our team at

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