Open up any young person’s Instagram account today and, in between the shots of meticulously arranged food and glorious landscapes, you’ll find tailored shots placed right in front of local landmarks — including the murals and artistic standards.

What many real estate developers don’t understand, however, is the potential behind this growing social media trend. Want to get your buildings in front of people’s eyes and increase retail sales in the area? Hire an artist.

Blueprint CBRE recently investigated exactly how much artistic aspects can add to otherwise-traditional real estate developments, and it’s a good article for any developer to check out. The benefits of artistic additions aren’t news to us here at CTG Real Estate Services, but we’re happy to share with you the important information any developer needs before moving forward.

A Growing Trend Across the U.S.

Search Instagram for any city location, and you’ll likely find that a few sites are the ones to commonly pop up in the search results. Most of these are picturesque landmarks, including artistic sites like murals, sculptures and more.

These artistic venues and photo opportunities are popping up across the country. Mural artists are frequently approaching landlords or being approached by landlords to spice up empty walls and building features. From Manhattan to Chicago to Miami, murals are becoming a popular way to make your real estate properties stand out — with the added benefit of knowing that you are adding something beautiful and beneficial to a neighborhood.

In Detroit, an annual Murals in the Market festival began to sell prints of murals and further popularize the idea of public art. In return, real estate developers came to Detroit and specifically settled in neighborhoods filled with murals and street art. In Detroit especially, the growth of commissioned murals and other street art has quickly led to gentrification and increased business opportunities for developers. It can do the same for your real estate regions, too!

A Case Study: Kansas City, Missouri

As a Kansas Citian, Chris Gardner has seen the growing popularity of public art firsthand. Kansas City, Missouri, has always been an artistic town; in fact, Kansas City is one of many cities around the country who require developers to set aside a certain percentage of funds for aesthetic and artistic appeal in their new projects. The Municipal Art Commission opens up artistic opportunities to local and long-distance artists, stating that “Whenever possible, the selection of artists from the Kansas City region shall be encouraged by the panels.” To date, 12 projects through the commission have included local and regional artists.

Famous murals and other works of art abound when it comes to Kansas City, few as iconic as the giant shuttlecocks on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art:

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Today, Kansas City is a hubbub for arts of all types — visual, musical, theatrical and more. The city recently hosted its first Open Spaces festival, in which visitors explored the city to find unconventional artistic exhibits. Kansas City is a continually growing artistic hub — which offers many opportunities and benefits for local developers such as CTG Real Estate Services to put their take on “artistic development.”

How Art Impacts Surrounding Commercial Real Estate

Art does more than add beauty to a neighborhood and landscape. It can directly increase a developer’s and his tenant’s profits.

In many ways, posts on social media — of a restaurant’s food, of a retail center’s architecture — are much more valuable than any review or word-of-mouth advantage. In today’s social-media-infused culture, getting your project and tenants in people’s vision and at the forefront of their brains is accomplished mainly with Instagram and Facebook. When developers take the initiative to include beautiful murals and other artistic architecture in their designs, they will often find it brings more foot traffic than they may have ever expected.

Similarly, their tenants will typically see increases in sales in response. When young people come to take photos in front of a particular mural, they typically find a nearby business to spend their time in. For example, when a consignment boutique in Manhattan allowed a mural of Michael Jackson to be painted on the side of its building, the store shortly after saw its biggest month of sales ever — from those who initially came for the mural and afterward popped into the shop itself.

Incorporating art into your real estate spaces is a great branding opportunity, as well. When done tastefully, your commissioned art can simultaneously bring awareness to the surrounding neighborhood and your real estate space. For example, when a small preschool in Chicago decorated their garage door, they added the store’s initials, which show up whenever the newest Instagrammer poses in front of it and uses the hashtag.

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Murals and other artistic additions on a building are important to building a community — and bringing in benefits for real estate developers. When possible, it’s a good idea for developers to put aside more funds for a public art project on their development. In most cases, it will be paid back in many ways.

Want more tips on how to build the best commercial real estate developments? Schedule a consultation with Chris Gardner today.

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