Benjamin Scheick, PhD

Associate Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Finance and Real Estate

Benjamin Scheick, PhD

With deep expertise in commercial real estate and finance, Benjamin Scheick ’03, PhD, earned a spot among the world’s top 25 most productive real estate researchers in the 2021 Real Estate Academic Leadership (REAL) Rankings.

This distinction recognizes the wealth of research that he contributed over the past five years in the top three peer-reviewed real estate journals—The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Journal of Real Estate Research and Real Estate Economics. It was the second time the associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Finance and Real Estate had appeared in the REAL rankings.

Currently, Dr. Scheick is conducting research that investigates the costs and benefits of maintaining financial flexibility through innovative capital market access and the influence of geographic proximity and information access on the value of commercial real estate. “Once you start thinking about the forces that influence your built environment, the world presents interesting questions for exploration wherever you look,” he says.

Dr. Scheick is particularly interested in the growing impact that technology infrastructure has on urban design and the way people think about the possible uses of leasable space. He views technology infrastructure—the fiber-optic cables, routers and switches that connect our devices—as the “highway” along which digital information travels.

“It is no longer just the physical access to traditional infrastructure like train stations, roadways and airports that makes urban space desirable—it’s now access to the physical hubs of the ‘information highway’ that impacts demand,” Dr. Scheick explains. “And that access has the potential to affect a whole range of other things, including what kinds of jobs are available in an area and nearby real estate values.”


A Brave New Infrastructure

Dr. Scheick is currently working with colleagues from the University of Florida to illuminate the hidden ways in which technology shapes our physical environment. In their working paper “The Need for Speed: Internet Infrastructure Location and Real Asset Values,” they analyzed the establishment of tech hubs known as internet exchange points (IXPs) and subsequent trends in the use of leasable space within a defined radius of each IXP.

An IXP is a physical location through which internet infrastructure companies connect to exchange internet traffic. Dr. Scheick likens it to an airport for data, where information travels first before it branches off to its final destination.

They discovered that demand for office space in the immediate vicinity of an IXP shot up drastically upon its placement, and technology- and knowledge-intensive firms were willing to pay a premium for that space. Dr. Scheick’s findings provide valuable insights for the commercial real estate industry: Geographic location of technical infrastructure has an extraordinary impact on the composition of and competition for adjacent commercial real estate.