Move over, Silicon Valley – there are some new players in the game.

The tech industry’s steady growth rate is causing tech hubs to sprout up all over the country. It isn’t just centered around big cities or coastal oases,  it’s everywhere. In fact, the expanding tech industry is responsible for leasing a large portion of the country’s office spaces. This is huge, not only for tech giants but also for investors.

Commercial investors need to keep up with the latest tech trends in order to find the best assets, and it’s always smart to get ahead of the game. Finding these small areas before they explode into popular hotspots is key to dominating the industry. Here are 3 tech-centric areas which are currently CRE’s best-kept secrets.

Milwaukee, WI – Southeastern Wisconsin isn’t what it used to be. In the past, this area was known for manufacturing, but today, it’s seen as a center for data and technology. The impact is so heavy that the local economy sees $2.1B coming in from tech every year – making a huge contribution to the region’s overall financial standings.

Milwaukee is so attractive to investors and tech startups due to the low living costs, the abundance of useable office and industrial assets, and a community which supports developing businesses. Big names in the area are supporting Milwaukee’s tech boom, as seen in Northwestern Mutual’s $150M funding project and former Governor Walker contributions to a coding school where students pay nothing until landing a job.

Skyline of the city of Milwaukee, WI at sunset.

Norfolk, VA – Norfolk is home to the world’s largest Naval base, making it a great place to find qualified talent for the tech industry. The infusion of ex-military personnel who transition into the workforce creates a huge pool of opportunity for tech giants and startups looking to expand their teams.

On top of that, the city is in the process of building two high-speed trans-Atlantic cable landings, which is expected to transform Norfolk into an International Digital Port. Jared Chalk, Norfolk’s Economic Development Director, notes “We are the only metropolitan area between Miami and New York where groups of these trans-Atlantic cables are landing… The cables make the city the closest landing spot to the major data center hub focused around Ashburn”. This will add to the influx of interested tech professionals and further contribute to job opportunities in the area.

New Orleans, LA – New Orleans is known for many things, but tech is slowly becoming one of the city’s notable aspects. In the past, it’s been tough for tech companies to land spaces in New Orleans. However, a few recent developments have changed up the game.

Local tax incentives offer deep rebates on software development. Combine this with low living expenses and an affordable CRE collection, and you’ve got an up and coming tech paradise. Companies are raising funds to further assert the region as a center for digital exploration.

Investors, don’t overlook these underrated regions – you never know what they can become in the future. All big things start small.

How can we help you? NAI/Merin Hunter Codman is one of South Florida’s leading commercial real estate firms and the largest in Palm Beach County. We have over three decades of experience advising clients on strategic acquisitions and dispositions and providing landlord representation, tenant representation, property management, and construction management services. The firm has expertise in all commercial property sectors including office, retail, industrial, multifamily, hotels, and land. To learn more about our services click here.

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