All investments come with a certain amount of risk, but commercial property investments can be especially risky, given the nature of trends and the amount of time it takes a property to go from idea to approval to development to the market. By the time
your state-of-the-art development is ready for sale or lease, it’s no longer on trend.

That’s why we take a holistic approach to our commercial developments. Our goal is to provide people with buildings that make all aspects of their lives easier and will provide long-term benefits. Because making people’s lives easier never goes out of style.
It’s also why we design and build property with an eye towards the entire community.

Just like no man is an island, each building is a part of its community. If it’s going to be successful in achieving the goals for which it was designed and developed, it needs to be built with that community front and center … not as an afterthought.

So, if you’re thinking about developing a commercial property in Wisconsin, here are some long-term trends to consider.

Opportunity Zones

The state of Wisconsin has noted certain disadvantaged areas that could benefit from some revitalization. They have decided to incentivize investors with tax incentives to try to get them to invest in new developments in these opportunity zones.

The result is areas that provide opportunities, not only for investors, but for the residents of those communities who could benefit from new developments.

So, before you decide on the location of your new development, check to see if there are any nearby opportunity zones that could provide both tax benefits for you and economic benefits for the community.


More people are shopping online, and more people are working from home. The internet started this trend ages ago, but the COVID-19 pandemic helped it step on the gas.

More and more people are returning to the office in our post-pandemic world, but plenty of people are choosing to continue working from home, and online shopping is not showing any signs of slowing down.

This is probably the biggest trend to affect the commercial development world, and while it might be tempting to hang up your hat and try a new career move, we also think this trend brings with it some incredible opportunities. You just have to plan accordingly.
For example, some things to consider include:

  •  Smaller Spaces: Even as we emerge from the pandemic, most companies still have teams in which some people always work in the office while others always work from home. Other companies have a rotating system in which all their team members work 2-3 days per week at home and 2-3 days per week at the office. This means they only need enough office space for half their team.
  •  From Conference Rooms to Zoom Rooms: Plenty of companies are still using conference rooms for in-person meetings, but Zoom hasn’t gone anywhere since its heyday early on in the pandemic, and it shows no signs of going anywhere anytime soon. This means that people who are in the office need to be able to meet virtually with team members working from home, and they need to be able to meet virtually with vendors and clients all over the world. So, if your conference rooms aren’t equipped with cameras and screens to facilitate these hybrid meetings, no one will be interested in buying/renting your office space.
  •  Shared Office Spaces: While many of us in the commercial-development world are used to thinking about developing spaces for large corporations, the freelancers and solopreneurs have been creating an increasingly large demand for small offices they can rent. In these shared office spaces they share communal spaces with other renters in the building, which lowers the cost of their rent without detracting from the return on investment for the owners of the office space. While these shared office spaces have gained a reputation for having fun amenities, like on-site coffee and liquor, they also provide practical advantages, such as individual offices and shared conference rooms that can be rented and reserved for client meetings at prices freelancers and solopreneurs can afford.


Mixed-Use Developments

 Mixed-use developments are developments that seamless sly blend the residential with the commercial and the communal. People living in mixed-use developments don’t have long commutes between home and work, and they can run most (if not all) their errands in their own community. Not only is this convenient, it also helps build stronger communities. When people spend more time in their community, they feel a stronger attachment to it, which leads to them feeling a greater responsibility to care for that community.

So, before choosing a location for your next development, consider the community you’ll be adding to. What benefits will this bring them? How can they contribute to the success of your new development?

Think about the slogan: location, location, location. In today’s world, you might be better off thinking: community, community, community.

Developments with a Focus on Health and Wellness

There’s an increase in demand for developments with a focus on health and wellness. This includes things like touchless technology and enhanced ventilation systems in both commercial and residential spaces.

No one wants to work in a building that smells stale or makes them sick, and buildings with integrated technology that helps keep them safe and healthy are increasingly becoming the norm. That means your buildings need to create safe, healthy spaces if you don’t want to risk falling behind the competition.

Smarter Buildings

There is an increased demand for better technology to be incorporated into Wisconsin’s new commercial developments, including automated HVAC systems, smart lighting, integrated security, and energy-efficient systems.

Not only do these technologies help make the lives of the inhabitants easier and more convenient, they also help keep them safe and healthy.

Not to mention many of these technologies help keep energy costs down. For example, lights that automatically turn on when someone enters a room and turn off when the last person leaves help save electricity. That’s both good for the planet and good for the renter when it’s time to pay their utility bills.


Smart buildings and sustainable buildings tend to go hand-in-hand, but it’s important not to assume that just because your building is smart it is also sustainable.

For example, the smart lighting mentioned above is both smart and sustainable, but is it powered by a traditional generator, or is it powered by solar panels? A traditional generator can power a smart building, but solar panels will make a building more sustainable, and renters are increasingly aware of the things their buildings can do that, not only limit their utility bills, but are also environmentally friendly.

At Compass Properties, we know how important it is to create buildings that provide long-term benefits to both its inhabitants and its investors. That’s why we only use the highest-quality ventilation and filtration systems, the most advanced security technology,
and tried-and-true energy-efficient installations.

We also have lots of other ideas for how you can develop buildings with a holistic approach to development. If you’d like to hear more about those ideas, we’d love to chat with you.