Sustainability In the Real Estate Industry
An Interview with Jonathan Grobstein of Rise Realty
Jonathan Grobstein is the head of investment research and sustainability at Rise Realty. While working as a real estate agent to help clients find the best realties around Boston, he attends Boston University, where he studies real estate, finance, and international relations. Grobstein has obtained extensive knowledge of sustainability through his passions for sustainable development in the real estate industry and sustainable agriculture.
In this interview, Grobstein will be sharing with us his insights on the correlation between sustainability and real estate, and we hope to use his knowledge to help us further develop the Parkaze community.
What’s your background, and how did you get started in the real estate world?
I grew up in the Boston area. While studying at Boston University, I became a real estate agent at Rise Realty in Brookline. As I learned more and more about the Boston real estate market from being an agent, I was able to move into an investment-research/acquisitions role at Rise as well as working to make our business and development projects more sustainable. I’ve been at Rise Realty for the past two years and have really enjoyed working there.
What fascinates you about real estate?
People will always need somewhere to live. The real estate industry will be relatively more resilient to the changing world in comparison to other industries that will change more rapidly in the coming years. Many of the services provided within the real estate industry can be automated, however, the real estate itself will always be necessary.
As an investment, real estate is a tangible asset that you can not only actively use and benefit from, but also add value to overtime.
In the real estate industry, we have the ability to make a visible change in our community and positively benefit those around us.
How do you think your understanding of sustainability and environmentalism has been impacted ever since you began studying at BU?
Most of my learning about sustainability and the environment came from reading books/textbooks/articles and watching documentaries/videos. Unfortunately, my business education at BU did not provide that much information on sustainability or environmental topics. I took one great class on sustainability at BU called ‘Sustainable Development’, which focused on sustainable economic development on a global scale. I recommend anyone who is interested in learning about sustainability to start reading about it more. Information about this topic can easily be found in books and online, it does not need to be learned in a classroom.
Do you think the parking experience could be improved to achieve a more sustainable result? Do you think electric cars are the way forward, and is there a growing market for electric car parking stations in the near future?
In the short term, parking services that help commuters find a spot more efficiently help reduce driving time and car emissions. In the long term, once electric cars become more standard, the demand for electric charging stations will obviously grow. Parking spots that have charging stations set up will not only be more valuable in the future but will also encourage more electric car ownership.
Electric car ownership will likely grow rapidly over the next decade. This will be followed closely by the rise of automated vehicles. Once automated electric vehicles are common on the road, the demand for parking spots will change. Demand for urban parking near business areas will fall, and many homeowners will own parking spots that they no longer use for parking their gas-powered cars. In the long-term future, many people won’t own their own cars, as shareable automated electric cars become the norm, which could completely change parking as we know it. Urban parking spaces could be used for electric charging, vehicle storage, bike racks, walking/biking lanes, new tree planting, indoor hydroponic agriculture, and other more sustainable uses.