To a certain extent, some of the same principals that apply to residential landscapes also apply to commercial landscapes in terms the value of the real estate itself. The landscape is a reflection of the owner’s level of care for his property and a proxy for how he maintains his buildings. This not only translates in to increased value at the time of sale, but also produces higher rents and lower vacancy rates over the period of ownership.
Higher Occupancy Rates
According to a study by Professor Joel Goldsteen, at the University of Texas, Arlington, landscape amenities had the highest correlation with occupancies of any other architectural and urban design variables evaluated. His conclusion was "landscaping amenities pay back the developer as evidenced by the higher occupancies (and rents) clearly justifying the investment.” A shopping center in San Diego cites landscaping as the reason for high occupancy and the ability to charge rental rates that are double those of other shopping plazas. The carefully designed project uses landscaping to create a refuge in the midst of a busy shopping area. A Chicago developer points to unique interior landscaping in glass-roofed atriums as a major selling point and reason the building occupancy rates are 21% above the national level.
Shoppers Spend More
But in addition to the real estate value impact, there is also a growing body of research that shows that a well-maintained commercial landscape can have a positive influence on consumer buying behavior in retail shopping areas. In a Wall Street Journal article by Lucinda Harper, entitled "Landscapers Help Spruce Up Main Street,” several revitalization efforts around the nation were cited where landscape was key to creating a sense of community and bolstering the local economy. The city of Valdosta, Georgia, according to Harper, had tried everything from incentives to restoring the facades of buildings only to find that $9 million in landscaping brought shoppers to the district who spend longer periods of time, which in turn, brought more shops.