Vornado Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust which owns and manages nearly 24 million square feet of commercial office space in New York City, has been expanding its IoT footprint to increase the offering of smart building devices across its properties, Nicholas Stello, senior vice president of IT at Vornado Realty Trust, told In-Building Tech.
“Our IoT footprint continues to grow rapidly as we have focused our attention on increasing the number of smart building devices, introducing additional tenant amenities and other technologies which enhance our building’s operation,” he said. “We continue to learn about the latest trends and how to be best situated for IoT’s imminent 5G ‘revolution’ through active participation on advisory boards and by continuing our strong strategic partnership with national carriers that we believe will be critical in this new environment.”
According to the executive, the quality of in-building cellular is directly related to the ability to attract and retain tenants as well as increase net operating income for building owners.
“We’ve seen a growing trend over the years where a prospective tenant would inquire about cell coverage. Over time as their cellular needs have become more of a business requirement, some tenants would require a complete indoor solution prior to signing a lease. There’s no doubt that there exists a correlation between a property’s technology offerings and the successful execution of a lease.”
Mr. Stello highlighted that telecom operators are very selective to invest in the in-building 5G as they are only investing in high-profile venues located in high-density areas. “If you happen to own or are developing a property that has a very high profile, is highly commuted and is in a high-density area where the macro is already strained, then your chances of a carrier contributing capital are better – but those properties are few and far between in most organizations,” the executive said.
“While still critical and important to an organization, the remaining portfolio may not be as attractive to the carriers and hence no capital funding would be made available to build them out – this “second level” of properties is where we are focusing our recent in-building cellular coverage efforts,” he added.
Mr. Stello also believes that 5G technology will allow Vornado to enhance the ability of CRE operators to attract and retain tenants. “We feel that the advent of 5G will play a big part in our technology offerings as the tenant/consumer will continue to have a growing number of mobile applications made available – many of which will be primed to operate on 5G.”
The executive also said that despite some challenges to secure capital investments by national carriers, the firm will continue its efforts to engage with them in some strategic projects.
“The seemingly unchangeable shift to landlord/venue funded systems is something that we need to adapt to and figure out how best to move forward. Historically, we have made our properties, our portfolio for that matter, as open as possible to the national carriers by crafting beneficially reciprocal cellular agreements. Our desire to continue to increase our cellular installation base using the carrier’s capital is, at best, a difficult one to satisfy. We will continue to work closely with them on strategic projects that we both view as important to our brand.”