At first it might seem that 3D printing would have little effect on commercial real estate, but upon closer inspection, it is clear that digital manufacturing technologies (of which 3D printing is a prime example) could indeed leave its mark on real estate. This article explores ways in which commercial real estate could need to respond to emerging manufacturing technologies.
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Over the next decade, retail will almost certainly see some form of in-store production. A net reduction in overall space requirements is likely, as businesses use available space for production rather than inventory, but the effect will be gradual. Retail shops outfitted with printers could experience a tailwind of increased footfall as showrooms become increasingly important for printing of customised products. In fact, retailers are already using in-store printing to create novel shopper experiences, with customers working alongside shopkeepers to customise products.