Lower East Side and Taco Mix on Delancey Street.

It is evident that the residential and commercial landscape is rapidly changing here in the LES (Lower East Side, NYC). It is my second day dining at Taco Mix – and I am delighted to report that the food is delicious. I foresee that in the next 10 years, this small strip, which appears currently under contract, will build its air rights and develop into a mini mall; mixed use condominium, or both? The puzzle could align given the recent burst in tech start-ups in New York. The “opportunity zone” on South Delancey Street and Broome Street, featuring brand new offices, and a collection of brand new residential sales and rentals will be able to host the continuation of this burgeoning cultural shift. Perhaps Andreessen Horowitz, a private American venture capital firm, or Fifth Wall, will open offices here in the LES? Only time will tell who the prospective tenants will be, but they can always e-mail me for feedback ha ha blanca@manhattanlifere.com

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A tale of technocratization and the real estate “super” broker.

The empowered real estate professional of the future will be supported by artificial intelligence derived from contextual local data to guide the process and provide insights. Like any other major shift in the world, it will take time to derive meaningful algorithms. In the process, there will be a refinement in ethics given that software and hardware solutions are inherently subjective with a given goal in mind, and it is often just about making money, (not all, some) and not aiming to solve a problem. To some degree, that cycle will correct itself as people will eventually decipher between such competing voices; hopefully machine learning will produce super intelligence that is self motivating toward “mindfulness.” Just as we hope that real estate brokerages and developers  that make a career out of “opportunity zones” act beyond speech and actually purport positive change by giving back to the same community. 

  Constituents use artificial intelligence keywords to differentiate and gain market share, because technically, and literally, there are current laws governing how a real estate brokerage should be structured. This actually limits what can be done by a robot vs a licensed real estate agent depending on location. While the purported tech rhetoric has to some degree dislocated smaller brokerages and brokers, there are players that realized that in order to compete aggressively it is imperative that they go beyond speech and actually use relevant data to feed the machine and obtain aiding answers in pricing and pairing of customer and real asset. Thus, traditional closed systems that own compilations of such relevant data sets, can now crunch that data to churn it into gold, thereby enhancing the real estate agent in their brokerage into a “super agent.” This process or paradigm shift will create a division between brokerages who cannot afford to buy market intelligence or data, and scientists and engineers to build smart systems. Technocratization also created a market- place for non traditional real estate brokerage services for different classes (single family, condos, ect). Moreover, there are companies offering to streamline most of the transactional process for a fraction of the traditional cost. While I do not imagine that there is a unicorn that can streamline the buying or selling process for every asset, there are some fair artificial intelligence solutions that can be helpful, depending on the user’s goal. Human time and effort is still needed to guide the algorithms, label the data, collect data, and understand the linguistic environments where such “innovation” takes place. 

    Conclusively, I would not make my bet on having artificial intelligence dramatically replace a system and process that is local, and to some degree analog, operating through a specific legal framework changed overnight. The process of creating meaning in our society and cultures takes time, that includes the understanding of new technologies by many, the cost of such shift, and the adoption of it. The questions that we are left to ponder are related to: what is the value that is created? Who loses? people without access? Does it solve a real problem? Is it long term? Is it viable? And it will eventually become the norm? Within what framework?