Micro Commercial Real Estate, or Micro CRE for short, is a small division of a commercial real estate property. The small divisions of property can be used to generate revenue for the CRE owner or CRE manager by leasing the Micro CRE to a business that either operates some type of machine (or possibly a business, like a ghost kitchen) on the property or uses the property to store something short term (think parking spot, boat slip, or RV). The business that leases the micro CRE will typically be one that uses automation to generate revenue from foot traffic or car traffic that is passing by.
If you own CRE that means that you likely have a lot of foot traffic or vehicle traffic that could be monetized by renting out small divisions of your CRE as a micro-property, and there is property technology that can help you.
Proptech has been around for a few years, but it is currently undergoing a renaissance. The proptech companies that have survived since the early 2000s are the likes of Zillow and Redfin, but there is a whole new crop, some with NFT based deeds, and others who are trying to make the world a little smaller.
Vending Machines By the Numbers
Currently, the most abundant type of micro CRE is vending machine locations, with more than 7 million vending machines in the US and the average person buying $27 worth of vending products per year (about $2.25 per month).
Vending machines are everywhere you look, and can sell Snickers or Toyotas or anything in-between (my favorite might be this surfboard and bike vending machine.) Given the convivence that vending machines give to both customers and owners, it’s no surprise that there are so many of them in the US.
Though there’s really no such thing a passive income, vending machines are automated sales machines that do the sales work while you do something else – vending machines require stocking and maintenance, which only take a couple of hours a week, so it is semi-passive income. The location for a vending machine is vital, because the location is how the vending machine markets its products.
Up and Coming: EV Charger Micro CRE
Now, there’s no where near 7 million public Electric Vehicle (EV) Chargers in the US (there’s only about 113,000), but there are plans to drastically expand the number of EV chargers in the coming years (the Biden Administration’s goal is 500,000 and have announced $5 billion from 2022 to 2027 to make it a reality) to make driving an EV a more viable solution, especially for those people who do not have a place to charge their EV at their home.
Many apartment complexes are starting to install EV chargers for their residents, and hotels need to have many EV chargers – eventually they’ll need 1 per room once the number of EV drivers expands significantly (there are about 2.2 million EVs on the road compared to 275 million combustion cars – a 100x growth opportunity).
Opportunities Abound in Micro CRE
The growth of the Micro CRE market is highly dependent on traditional CRE owners/operators making deals with the machine (EV charger, vending, etc.) owners/operators. This can be spot by spot for small deals, or building complex by building complex for larger deals, but either way, the two sides need to be connected – and that’s what Leptonic, Inc is striving to do: build connections.
Though when working with a micro real estate agent, make sure that they are not trying to get you involved with micro-flipping because that is a totally different industry.