PODCAST— Can art influence
the market value of your
real estate?

A well-curated art collection can influence faster sales and lease-ups for real estate owners and investors

November 24, 2020

Art has historically been used in the real estate industry to make buildings more inviting and unique, but now there’s a financial case for it.

In addition to the community support and recognition for considering art and culture in the development of a property, you can make major impacts on your bottom line. In this episode of the Building Places podcast, Martha Weidmann, CEO of NINE dot ARTS, says “Integrating art and culture with real estate can actually increase a building’s market value, have faster sales or lease-ups, and lower turnover rates.”

For tenants, converting a space into an artesian experience can also contribute to hiring and retaining talent by creating a positive and energizing work environment. Many technology companies are using art to convey the energy of a creative workplace for both clients and the talent they want to hire.

Art and culture play a critical role in turning a property into a one-of-a-kind experience. Real estate owners, investors and tenants can increase their property value by creating a space where visitors, clients and employees want to be. 

James Cook: what gives a building or a neighborhood personality? I think one major ingredient is the artwork both inside and outside. So today we're talking to a curator who uses art to create a narrative, to tell the story of a place. This is building places where we look at the world of commercial real estate through the eyes of the experts that study it every day.

My name is James Cook. I research real estate for J L L and today I'm talking with Martha Weidman CEO and co-founder of nine dot arts.

Martha Weidmann: Hi, I'm Martha Weidman. 

I am the CEO and co-founder of nine dot arts and art consulting and curating firm here in North America. Yeah.

James Cook: Art consulting. If you're at a party, how do you tell people what that means?

Martha Weidmann: So a lot of it revolves around ideas of creative placemaking, , working with the local community and using interesting financial models to support art and culture in placemaking and development.

James Cook: Obviously there is sort of an altruistic purpose for creating and enjoying art, but you're saying that there's also a business case for it.

Martha Weidmann: there's absolutely a business case for art. And I think that that's one of the most important things that I'd like to highlight in our work today, there are a number of different reports that have recently come out from ULI and the city of Seattle, that document how arts and culture supports real estate from a business impact.

ROI can include a multitude of different things like shorter approval cycles, increased market value and recognition, faster sales or lease ups, lower turnover rates and higher community buy-in and opening support.

And in addition, if you check out that ULI report, you'll also see that they surveyed. a wide group of, of different people across the United States and found that 91% of Americans believe that art and culture facilities improve quality of life.

James Cook: Tell me about, something that was a real placemaking when that used art 

Martha Weidmann: I would consider a couple of our projects, a real place-making win in their use of art and culture. One for example, is Denver's dairy block. And the dairy block is an interesting case because it's an adaptive, reuse and repurpose of an entire city block.

That includes the former 1920 Windsor dairy and a firehouse as well as parking lots into new infrastructure and the dairy block comprises. A micro district with 250,000 square feet of office space and event and meeting space. And then an independent 172 room Maven hotel with 392 underground parking spaces.

It also features the milk market with local artisan food and drink venues, restaurant bar, coffee, art gallery, and an activated pedestrian alley. That features. Murals interactive art installations and maker shops. And throughout our work, our curatorial and consulting work on the dairy block. And we've got an ongoing exhibition, not only these permanent architectural integrated art pieces, but ongoing work there to keep it active and interesting.

And we feature more than 700 pieces of artwork created by artists from the local community.

James Cook: Tell me about how that comes about, how do you determine the vision and then how does art give that message?

Martha Weidmann: our role as consultants is to help develop the brand and the vision and the narrative and the early stage. So we were involved with the development group, which was a partnership with multiple different entities. McWhinney grand American and then Sage hospitality coming in for the independent hotel.

And we were working with their group about four years before the project opened. And in those early stages, the thing that came to life was really this idea of. The dairy block, being the space of the maker and wanting to showcase a local fair and things that artisans from the community had created. And this concept is really able to be seen throughout, multitude of different locations.

As you go through the dairy block. For example, one of the most photographed sites in the entire city is in the lobby of the Maven hotel. There's a large sculpture that hangs down by a sculptor named Andy Toronto. That sculptors sculpture is one of the most Instagram sites and re posted sites in the city.

And that image itself is the image of a hand, which represents. Not only a welcoming space as you are bringing guests into a hotel, but also shows the work of an actual maker. , we commissioned Andy and partnered the developer with this local artist because not only is he a professor of woodworking and sculpture from a UCC, so a regional college to the project.

But he also works with those images of the hand and upcycles materials. So he's using his own hand to handcraft and upcycled material showing a welcome open Palm to bring you into the lobby. So everything about that, sculpture is an iconic branding moment. It's really about defining what this place is about and telling a story and providing a, a sense of.

Visual intrigue in history for the visitors.

James Cook: I wanna ask you about office spaces, when I think about our in office spaces, it's always like that boring corporate art or like a portrait of the founder or people doing better than that? Now

Martha Weidmann: We are. So here's the good news. Yes. There are so many more ways to, to engage your staff and engage your visitors, your clients that are coming to experience this space. And it's really important to think about how art can represent your brand, how art can represent the brand that you want to convey.

Not only for. You know, the clients that might be coming to visit, but for the people who work there because a great art program can actually contribute to hiring and retention because your office space is a place that you can use as a recruiting tool. So it's, it's important that that kind of location can convey the right message and, you know, even.

Have some office spaces that we've worked on have interactive art pieces. the level of intrigue and interaction I think has just. Gone leaps and bounds and little bit by little bit, we're able to educate our audiences and the audiences in the commercial real estate world to understand the positive abilities of what has changed and how the future looks for the world of art have you done any work in, in medical spaces? , is there an opportunity there to, to use art to improve, , the environment?

if you're thinking about healthcare, there's actually more statistics and more information around evidence-based design in the healthcare, design world than perhaps even an in other industries.

So in healthcare specifically, there are examples of artwork being used to, decrease patients' needs. For pain medication to decrease the length of hospital stays. And so a lot of those studies have to do with things like art installations that help you feel relaxed and connected to nature.

You'll see that the rooms are designed with a window to see outsides of the patients can get daylight. That's part of the healing process. And then when you look at the artwork on the interior or in patient rooms, a lot of times it ties back to botanical or to nature, but what's important is that you always create this grounded sense of place.

So it's a more common in hospitals to see artwork that has a horizon line that reminds you where you are, and that you're a part of this earth and that you're healing and getting better. Versus having a work of art. That's cropped that where you just see the sky or just see the ground cause that's more disorienting.

So it's always about the audience and how you can help the audience reach the next level.

James Cook: Martha, thank you so much for joining me today. This has been a great conversation.

Martha Weidmann: Oh, thank you, James. It was lovely to speak with you

James Cook: If you liked this podcast, you should tell a friend about it. Tell them to subscribe, to building places on the iPhone podcast app on Spotify or wherever it is, they get their podcasts, or they can stream

I recently had a conversation with Kristin Le France at Shopify about how retailers are now having to adapt and change with the pandemic. You can hear my conversation with Kristen on the latest episode of our sister show. It's called where we buy and you can find where we buy wherever you get your podcasts for the latest research about commercial real estate.

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