Denver Startup Offers a Nimble New Way to Activate Real Estate

Jason Shepherd, co-founder of REACTIV.

By Katie Rapone, editor of Mile High CRE

Companies like Airbnb have proven the power of the shared economy in real estate. A new Denver-based online platform that lists vacant or underutilized commercial properties for rent, hopes to capitalize on that. Today, REACTIV announces its company launch. The startup is reimagining the use of real estate while improving financial returns for landlords and small business owners, and giving entrepreneurs access to affordable space. Property owners can showcase their spaces online, free of charge, while renters can search for unique spaces with endless uses and flexible terms.

Originally named VenUse, REACTIV was founded by Jason Shepherd and Ryan Boykin, real estate entrepreneurs and co-founders of Atlas Real Estate. As real estate owners, many of Shepherd’s and Boykin’s commercial assets carry a little more downtime between tenants than they would like. REACTIV came about as a way to monetize those gaps in occupancy, as well as improve their utility outside of business hours. “Office tenants occupy a space from eight to five but what happens to that multimillion dollar building after that? Why am I not finding ways to optimize that investment on the weekends?” says Shepherd. “We’re creating a solution to activate lazy space and improve financial performance while stimulating community, creativity and entrepreneurship.”

Diebolt Brewing Company in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood rents for $400/day.

REACTIV also offers a solution to the current retail vacancy crisis and affordability issues related to short-term occupancy, co-tenancy and sharing. “Bricks and mortar and small business profits are both on life support, especially in markets with rapidly increasing rents,” Shepherd continues. “Business owners who are battling affordability issues can use sharing and co-tenancy to generate additional revenue and provide affordable spaces for entrepreneurs, creatives and artists to create.”

By making tenancy in commercial properties less costly and more flexible, REACTIV hopes to energize local communities through an influx of new and exciting enterprises in vacant commercial spaces, serving as a catalyst for entrepreneurs, creators, builders, fabricators or pioneers, to transform their ambitions into reality.

Available to rent right now through the website, Diebolt Brewing Company offers a 3,000-square-foot event space for $400/day and comes complete with a full sound system, a small stage, lights, tables and chairs. Renting out the entire brewery is an option as well for an extra cost.

Only time will tell which sector of the market will have the most demand, but Shepherd knows that coworking space has a lot of downtime, restaurants are becoming increasingly expensive to operate, and retail is being bludgeoned by e-commerce. The only limitations with REACTIV are a building owner’s flexibility and a renter’s creativity in using the space. Contracts are in place at the time of booking that protect the owner and tenant from damages etc. When an owner receives a booking request they have the ability to either agree or disagree to the terms of the lease, which is largely dependent on how the tenant plans to use the property.

Ultimately, Shepherd believes that this new platform will bring fluidity and flexibility to the commercial real estate industry, at a time when most lease terms are five or ten years. “I look at this as a huge additive to the brokerage community and to commercial real estate in general because essentially there’s ways to find transactions in the intermittent process and in the down time. It’s also a great value proposition to brokers because essentially what we are doing is giving them a new place to advertise their listing and pay their landlord while their landlord is looking for a long term tenant.”

REACTIV even offers staging for its rental spaces in the form of an open house. This helps activate the space to bring in moire prospects to the property, while earning money for the landlord.

The innovative new business is initially focusing on Denver with plans to quickly expand to additional cities by mid-2020.

Photos courtesy of REACTIV

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