The More the Merrier: Smart Contracts and Multiparty Leases
Mo Shaikh, Cofounder of Meridio
The multi party lease Conundrum
The “click and buy” experience is the breezy dismissal of holiday stampedes and miserable long lines. It allows you to window shop without the sunburn, while packing loads of mismatched gadgets in your cart without the weight. The internet shopping experience has been hailed as the “retail killer.” And for good reason: the 10 largest retail real estate investment trusts (REITs) have plummeted anywhere from 14%-40% over the past year while the market has been up ~13% (source). As a result, retail stores have scrambled to stay relevant and have created interesting combinations that didn’t exist before. Vendors are forced to consider experiences and aesthetics that appeal to their customers in a way they did not have to before. Retail is going through an innovation period.
My co-founder, Corbin and I stumbled upon one such retail innovation last week. After every major meeting with external parties, Corbin and I like to consolidate our notes at the closest coffee shop with free wifi that we can find on Yelp. Toby Estates Coffee on 160 5th Ave, New York, NY fit that bill. As we we walked in our senses began to tingle; this wasn’t an average coffee shop.
With the proper dose of caffeine pumping into our system, we jammed for a bit before my legs needed some circulation (old age and pick up basketball without warming up can do that to you) and I needed a stretch break. Just a few feet away from our table, I saw what appeared to be a bookstore:
And after I leafed through Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Gene for a few moments and bought my wife her next book club pick, I noticed another vendor adjacent to the bookstore: Club Monaco. All three stores were adjoined to the same space and by proxy, the same lease.
Real estate professionals know that leases can be complex animals. And yet, here we witnessed three stores cohabitating the same space, yet successfully creating a new experience to convince consumers to wander away from their laptops. And this is not the only such incidence in NYC — check out Whole Foods and their shared space with Allegro cafe.
Tool of Choice: Smart Contracts to Chisel an Archaic Leasing System
There are new stressors on an already aching leasing system that is rigid to such changes. Innovations such as multi-experience retail spaces and technological shifts in online and offline spaces for retail will continue to challenge the system. But at Meridio, we welcome the challenge. A lease with multiple vendors creates a refreshing experience for customers, but causes a coordination headache for landlords and a pricing conundrum for incoming vendors. Such arrangements demand an administrative system to that allow operators, tenants, and subtenants to coordinate seamlessly while creating transparency for all parties to capture and share information when needed.
Fractional ownership of real estate assets is only the beginning — digitizing leases is the next frontier. Smart contracts coupled with blockchain encoded subscription models for real estate, can remove the administrative headache for sponsors and tenants to facilitate coworking and coliving spaces. Blockchain based legal agreements for tenants and lessors, in conjunction with Meridio’s model of tokenized ownership, unlock efficiencies for all stakeholders. Meridio’s leasing solutions reduce overhead management costs, simplifies dividend payouts,and creates dynamic rental agreements. Additionally, digitizing leases on the blockchain will solve common pain points by providing real time information about assets, automating payments for sponsors — driving better pricing for all.
Blockchain creates more than just a liquid real estate market, it creates a more efficient and transparent asset class, and that’s what Meridio is working on. Meridio will make it easy for a multi-business cohabitation, one of a coffee shop, bookstore, and luxury clothing boutique that are all owned by different vendors, the norm rather than the outlier.
Stay tuned for more caffeine powered updates!