What Is The Metaverse?

Video Index:
0:00 What is the metaverse? Are people really spending money on virtual land?
2:49 My new listings: Cedar Village in Bloomington, CA and Aaron’s in Arizona
4:15 Amazon’s new clothing store, coming to Glendale
5:26 Hotels use room service robots to bring food to rooms
6:34 Will we see a future with stores with no staff?

Hello Investors!


I’m Mike Lin, and I’m a commercial real estate broker based in Southern California. I help owners of retail properties determine the value of their real estate and help sell them for top dollar. I also make YouTube videos to keep you updated on what’s happening in commercial real estate, the retail industry, the overall economy, and the state of California.


The metaverse


Have you heard the term “metaverse” in the news recently?  In October of last year, Facebook rebranded its company to be called “meta,” but despite what many people think, they didn’t invent the metaverse. Actually, the term has been around since 1992, when writer Neal Stephenson used it in his novel Snow Crash.

The metaverse is a network of virtual worlds where you can interact with other people’s digital personas or avatars.  For the most immersive effect, most people choose to use a pair of virtual reality goggles, like those made by a company called Oculus.  Your avatar can walk around, pick up stuff, talk to people, and do almost everything you can do in real life.

Even though everything in the metaverse is virtual, people are paying real money to buy land in this fake world.  CNBC reports that over half a billion dollars of virtual real estate exchanged hands in 2021, most of it coming after October, when Facebook announced their rebranding, and making the term metaverse common lingo.

But even though the land isn’t real, the money people are spending certainly is.

Rapper Snoop Dogg recently purchased some land in the metaverse, where he’ll be building a virtual version of his mansion in Diamond Bar.  A fan followed him by paying $450,000 of real US dollars for a virtual plot of land to be Snoop’s neighbor.


The most expensive virtual land purchase to date is a $4.3MM purchase by a company called Republic Realm.  Republic Realm owns about 2,500 plots of land across the metaverse, with different exit strategies.  They could hold onto the land for appreciation, or they can design and build virtual real estate for sale or for lease.   Just like in the real world.  Does this sound familiar?

The metaverse is still in its infancy, but there are obviously a lot of people and companies spending a lot of money trying to get in on this before it explodes – kind of like the Internet in the 1990’s.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about the metaverse in the future.  So far, I haven’t seen any job positions for virtual commercial real estate brokers.  But I won’t be surprised if that’s coming soon.  At least doing virtual showings won’t require sitting in traffic in Southern California!

Reply to this email if you’d like me to do a more in-depth newsletter about real estate in the metaverse!

New Listings

Just listed for sale: Cedar Village


Cedar Village is a fully occupied shopping center with 10 tenants, all on triple net leases.  It sits at the signalized corner of Cedar Avenue and Bloomington Ave, which has traffic counts of over 34,000 cars per day.  It’s located just a quarter-mile from the Interstate 10 freeway.

Cedar Village has incredibly strong tenancy, with over 60 percent of the tenants having been at this center since it opened in 1987.  None of the tenants requested any COVID relief, and the center has only had two vacancies since 2007.

There is a value add component to this center.  There is an opportunity for a new owner to renovate the property and increase the rents, which are all at or below-market rates.  In addition, there is an opportunity to add monument or pylon signage to increase visibility (Buyer to verify).

Click here for more details.

We are asking $7,840,000, which is a 5.5% cap rate on actual income.

Just listed for sale: Aaron’s


I also listed this week a single-tenant Aaron’s building in the metro area of Globe-Miami, Arizona, about 90 minutes east of Phoenix. Aaron’s has been at this location for 17 years, and this is a corporate guaranteed lease.  The property is located in a shopping center anchored by Walmart and Taco Bell.  The asking price is $1,095,000, which is a 7.50% cap. Click here to learn more.

Please call me at (949) 209-9696 or reply to this email if you have questions about either of these properties or if you are interested in making an offer.

Coming soon: Amazon’s new clothing store


Amazon has already made a huge impact on the retail industry, with their various retail brands, such as Amazon Go, Amazon Four Star, and Amazon Fresh Grocery stores, which I did a video on last year.  Now, it looks like they are entering the clothing store business too, adding further insult to the injury to the many department stores that have closed due to Amazon’s recent dominance.

The Amazon Style clothing store is set to open later this year in Glendale, California, at The Americana at Brand mall.

Like other Amazon stores, Amazon Style is powered by the shoppers’ smartphones. Shoppers will scan QR codes on display that will allow them to view available sizes and color variations which will be delivered by a staff person to a fitting room.

Amazon will also be incorporating an artificial intelligence machine learning algorithm that will offer personalized suggestions and real-time recommendations for shoppers.

Amazon Style will carry a variety of clothing from Amazon as well as other popular brands, and promises to provide a wide selection for both men and women using the expertise of fashion curators and feedback provided by millions of customers shopping on Amazon.com.

An opening date hasn’t been announced yet, but I plan to take a trip out there when the store opens, and I’ll let you know about my experience.

Robots that will bring food to your hotel room


I’ve written several times in past newsletters about staffing shortages at restaurants, and how robots are being called in to help – including frying chicken wings and making smoothies.

Well, hotels are also getting in on the action with room service robots.

A Silicon Valley company called Savioke has developed a robot that can handle the time-consuming task of delivering food or other items to a hotel room.

The robot only needs to be trained once to navigate the hallways.  It can even call for an elevator and push the button to go to a specific floor.  The robot is programmed to avoid obstacles like humans or housekeeping carts.  When the robot gets to the room, it plays a sound mimicking Wall-E or R2D2, and then calls the guest to tell them that their food has arrived.

The robot is currently in use at the Residence Inn near LAX, as well as the Radisson in Sunnyvale, California, where the general manager of the hotel says that it has reduced room service delivery time from 30 down to 5 minutes. It has also reduced COVID anxiety, as some people are still nervous about having contact with a human being.

And the best part of all for travelers on a budget?  You don’t even need to tip the robot when it’s done.

Stores without any staff?



It’s no surprise that many retailers have been struggling in recent years with issues related to supply shortages, staffing problems, inflation, and shifting consumer habits.

Consulting company Deloitte surveyed 50 retail executives to get their opinions on these issues, and how the retail industry is going to deal with these problems.  They recently released a report that predicts a “great retail reset” that will take place in the next five years that will propel businesses into a more stable and profitable position.

One of these big changes they predict, and the most radical idea in the report is that over half of the 50 retail executives they surveyed believe that staff-free stores will be commonplace in the next five years – similar to the Amazon Go model, where you just buy something and walk out the door.

Really, though?  Completely staff-free?  I find this one hard to believe.  Even the Amazon go stores have staff to help you if something goes wrong.  And with technology, something always seems to go wrong.  In my opinion, technology can never think of all of the things that humans do in order to mess up the system, either intentionally or unintentionally.  I think there’s always going to be a need for some staff in a store.  What do you think?

I hope enjoyed this week’s newsletter and learned something. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!


Connect with me here:
Website:  https://mikelincre.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/MikeLinCRE
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/MikeLinCRE
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikeLinCRE
Email: mike@progressiverep.com

Mike Lin, CRE