How investing outside your organization can pay dividends

About a month back, I expressed my thoughts on Dennis Donovan’s theory of location velocity, in which he expresses the need to analyze current conditions and future trends in order to select the best site for a headquarters or major operations facility.  Curiously, almost in a rebuttal to Donovan’s theories, Elizabeth King Forstneger, Director of Grubb & Ellis Consulting, wrote an article about a corporate stewardship to protect the value of your long-term investment – Getting It Right: Achieving Long-Term Value from Your Real Estate Investment.

I am very intrigued with this approach.  Rather than looking from a traditional real estate and facilities (RE&F) perspective of “how can we manage expenses” or “how can we derive more value from our facilities”, the prescribed approach is to look at how giving to the community can pay tremendous dividends.  Forstneger identifies three key areas in which a RE&F department, or a business as a whole, can invest in their new area:

  • People Investment
  • Infrastructure Investment
  • Community Investment

Citing specific examples in each category using real-world business examples (e.g. AOL, BellSouth, and Lowe’s), she identifies how looking outside the normal scope of expenses to embrace activities like green building, neighborhood revitalization, workforce training/improvement and community outreach can help you avoid the issues which Donovan explored in his article on location velocity.  The insight from both articles should help any firm that is beginning to explore a major relocation or expansion into new markets.

Check out these two articles and come back here with your thoughts.  Do you agree with the authors?  Perhaps you have other approaches to maximizing/maintaining the value of your facilities.


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