Cube Cities Blog

The Cube Cities Blog

11 December 2013

Altus InSite's Toronto Office Market

Cube Cities and Altus InSite produce 3D visualizations of Canadian office markets. Here's a look at the available space downtown Toronto as of December 11th 2013.

Available Space Options in the Downtown Toronto Office Market from Altus InSite
Here's a video tour of the downtown Toronto office market:

Visit Altus InSite to learn more about 3D visualizations of available commercial space using Cube Cities technology.

28 October 2013

Video Tour of Future Apple Headquarters

Apple Campus 2 from above in Cupertino, CA
Apple received planning approval from the City of Cupertino on October 15th to proceed with the Apple Campus 2 project. The Development Permit allows for the demolition of approximately 2.7 m sqft of existing commercial buildings. It allows for the construction of 3.42 m sqft of office, research, and development buildings; 120,000 sqft (1,000 seat) corporate auditorium, 100,000 sqft corporate fitness center, 25,000 sqft of Valet Parking Reception and 92,000 sqft of utility plants; and associated parking facilities and ancillary buildings.

Here's a visualization of the Development Permit and the buildings that will be removed to make way for the new headquarters.

Fullscreen, high resolution link

Apple Campus 2, NE Entrance near East Homestead Road, Cupertino, CA

24 October 2013

Rent Rolls in Google Earth

Cube Cities can instantly convert a property rent roll from Excel to a 3D visualization in Google Earth. Below is a screenshot of what this looks like with sample data from a building in downtown Toronto:
Rent Roll Colourized by Lease Expiry
Here's a movie of what this interface looks like when navigating through downtown Toronto in Cube Cities:

Fullscreen, high resolution link

17 October 2013

3D Building Information Styles

The Cube Cities platform produces many different types of building information styles. Here's a very quick video that shows a brief look at 23 unique styles. These are configurations of our polygons and lines that are stable together and can be used to mimic building activity.

Fullscreen, high resolution link

8 October 2013

The Cube Cities Timeline

See how cities have historically developed with the Cube Cities Timeline. It lets you play city growth animations using building data for major North American cities.

Visit the Timeline here:

7 October 2013

Lower Manhattan Growth Animation (1840-2020)

Lower Manhattan, built floor by floor
This is a city growth animation of the buildout of Lower Manhattan from 1840-2020. This movie shows the buildings that exist today that have been built since 1840. This is a floor-level visualization that shows floors appearing as the years pass and eventually begin to cover the southernmost part of Manhattan Island.

Fullscreen, high resolution link

7 July 2013

Midtown Manhattan Growth Animation (1850-2015)

Central Park South & Fifth Avenue - Development in 1970

Fullscreen, high resolution link

The 1920's was a busy decade in the history of Manhattan's development. The 1940's and 1950's were comparatively slow, but development leaped forward again in the 1970's only to slow significantly in the 1990s. In the video above, the pace of growth in Midtown Manhattan can be seen over 165 years at the intersection of Central Park South and Fifth Avenue. As with our previous growth animations, this visualization shows all currently existing buildings by the year they were built.

2 July 2013

Toronto Growth Animation (1834-2013)

We can understand the large volume of commercial property that was built in Toronto during the 1970s with this time-lapse visualization of Toronto's financial core. Beginning in 1834, this visual, like our previous time-lapse animations, shows existing commercial and residential buildings appear by year built. Real estate professionals often use stories of past economic expansion and contraction when explaining office markets, with market visualizations from Cube Cities those stories become illustrated and the true economic realities of the past become evident and understood.

Below is a sequence of visuals that shows existing buildings downtown Toronto built by the year indicated. The vast expansion of space downtown from the 1960s to 1980 is apparent.

Click any image to expand.
Contact us to see different styles of time-lapse urban visualizations, they help people understand change in commercial and residential real estate markets.

29 June 2013

San Francisco Growth Animation (1877-2015)

Market Street Corridor and Union Square - 1930
Here's a view of the historic development near San Francisco's Market Street and Union Square districts over the past 138 years. Buildings that remain today appear as the time-lapse plays. This visualization also shows white wireframes that represent the urban density that is eventually built on the surrounding properties.

28 June 2013

Calgary Growth Animation (1892-2016)

This video shows Calgary's skyline being gradually built over an extended time span from 1892 onwards. Only buildings that currently exist are shown. The color styling can represent any building or market variable from the Cube Cities database.

Another way to learn about a cities development pattern is to use a series of time-lapsed visualizations, highlighting existing buildings, built by year indicated. This provides a better idea of the age of a cities current building inventory. The graphics below tell the story of the construction boom in Calgary from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. Its easy to recognize that the vast majority of all buildings downtown Calgary were built after 1970.

Green indicates buildings built by the year indicated.

Cube Cities produces these visualizations for any major city in North America. Contact us to see visualizations of other markets.

27 June 2013

Chicago Growth Animation (1862-2014)

Here's a visualization of the existing building inventory downtown Chicago with an animation showing each building appear by the year of construction. This is an effective technique for understanding the progression of city development.

Fullscreen, high resolution link

Chicago Skyline - 1933
Chicago Skyline - 1966
Cube Cities can produce these visualizations for any major city in North America. Contact us to see other markets.

20 June 2013

The Story of MPG Office Trust's Los Angeles Buildings

U.S. Bank Tower, Downtown Los Angeles
Vacancy in MPG Office Trust buildings Downtown Los Angeles 
MPG Office Trust has gradually shed its holdings downtown Los Angeles over the past two years, including the sale of the U.S. Bank Tower to Singapore-based Overseas Union Enterprise for $368 million, a deal that closed on June 18th of this year. Other buildings have been surrendered to creditors or sold to companies such as Brookfield Office Properties (BPO: NYSE, TSX) who recently announced a cash offer to purchase all outstanding shares of preferred stock of MPG Office, Inc. (MPG: NYSE). Previously, BPO announced its intention to acquire MPG on April 25th, 2013, a deal valued at more than $2 billion. The video below shows a data visualization of the currently available space in these trophy Los Angeles office properties.

Visit to examine all available office space in these buildings, including floor plans and specific leasing details. Data source:

30 May 2013

Cube Cities Vis Quiz: Mystery Business District

Use the poll on the right to participate in this vis quiz:

Where is this Major Business District?
Floor 31 in a Mystery Building in a Mystery Business District
Where in the world is this major business district? It's one of the world's most important financial zones, containing over 14,000,000 square feet of office space. Rental rates here run upwards of $60 USD-equivalent per square foot and A-class office properties are over 90% occupied. Here's a rotating video of the skyline:

Is it Frankfurt? London? Denver? Paris? Minneapolis? Cast your vote with the poll on the right side of the page. The answer will be revealed on June 3rd at 12pm MST.

ANSWER: Canary Wharf

29 May 2013

NEW! Rich Building Information Now Available

Find property data with the new Building Information option (click to expand)
We've introduced a new data menu to our city search that reveals building statistics for every commercial property in our database. This menu is now accessible to all users before or after a visual search for commercial space. Simply check the Building Information box and small red points will appear on the rooftop of every building. Mouseover the points and the building name will appear, click to see the details such as building type & class, number of floors, office and retail square footage, building architect, property manager, operating costs and more. Here's a video illustrating building information points in Toronto, Chicago and Manhattan.

Fullscreen, high resolution link

Keep watching the building information windows, we'll be adding new property data soon. Sign up with Cube Cities to explore this new data source.

Building Information covering Downtown San Francisco (click to expand)

23 May 2013

Uptown Charlotte's Largest Blocks of Office Space: Charlotte Business Journal

Cube Cities + Charlotte Business Journal Website Slideshow
The office market downtown Charlotte is tight. Especially for tenants looking for available spaces larger than 50,000 sqft. The Charlotte Business Journal recently ran a story on the 7 buildings with the largest amount of available space now and whats coming to market over the next several months. Cube Cities has produced a sequenced video that shows exactly where these spaces are located in each building, flying from space to space in concert with the article's slideshow.

Here's a video featuring every available space:

Fullscreen, high resolution link.

It's easy for Cube Cities users to produce videos like the one above for any large city in North America. Sign up on our website to create your own flight of available office space options.

Uptown Charlotte's 7 largest blocks of office space (click to expand)
Update: Charlotte Business Journal Writer Will Boye responds to our data visualization of his article, read it here.

11 May 2013

CBRE Office Market Snapshot: Sydney City Core

Sydney's City Core showing available CBRE office space, Governor Philip Tower highlighted (click to expand)

Here's a look at CBRE's available office space in Sydney's city core, as of May 11th 2013. Missing 3D buildings are illustrated with our versatile Cube Cities visualization platform.

Space highlighted in 120 Sussex Street

Fullscreen, high resolution link

Explore the Sydney office market interactively with Cube Cities here.

8 May 2013

Brookfield Office Properties in 3D: Manhattan

Here's an example of the traditional presentation format for commercial real estate data:

Brookfield Office Properties, Mortgage Information Sheet

Examining buildings with Cube Cities makes more sense. Our visualizations are the high bandwidth means of understanding building data and the stories behind land economics. Here's a look at the Brookfield Office Properties portfolio in Manhattan, including the current space availabilities in every building.

Brookfield's 10 major commercial properties in Manhattan
Brookfield Place: 8 million square feet
The Grace Building: 1.6 million square feet
All buildings visualized in this video:

Fullscreen, high resolution link

Brookfield Office Properties in 3D: Downtown Toronto

Downtown Toronto buildings owned by Brookfield Office Properties showing available office space
Available space in First Canadian Place
Here's a look at Brookfield Office Properties downtown Toronto portfolio. The video below is a Cube Cities flyover of the portfolio's buildings. The video provides a look at the current office space available downtown Toronto,  including the current available space in the Brookfield portfolio. The video demonstrates several Cube Cities data elements, including a fade-out of the photo-textured buildings to reveal the internal floors in First Canadian Place, Canada's tallest building.

Fullscreen, high resolution link

Contact us for portfolio visualizations of other large commercial real estate companies in Canada and the United States and see how they compare to the market.

30 April 2013

Sign In To Search All 3D Commercial Listings on Cube Cities

Cube Cities search results for Downtown Calgary
Searching all commercial real estate listings on Cube Cities now requires users to sign up. When we know more about our users we can provide special features, such as Flights, that make it easy to create automatic tours of commercial listings, as well as Grids, a 3D markup tool for buildings that allows anyone to annotate and share building information, precisely indicating window-level details.

Once signed in, you'll see a new user menu appear. Here's a description of the revealed functionality:

28 April 2013

Instant 3D Building Information with Cube Cities Skylines

Now you can find property data for any building in our 3D building information tool called Skylines. Visit Skylines here:

Skylines Start Message
Central Park South
Skylines provides information on over twelve thousand buildings in 20 cities, categorized by 24 building types and classes. Selecting any building in Skylines reveals an information balloon detailing the proper building name and address, number of stories, square footage, management company and year built. Plus, every commercial property has a link to check office and retail leasing activity on the Cube Cities website. Here's a look at some of the largest markets in North America:

(clockwise) New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Seattle, Toronto, Boston
Click to Expand
Skylines Information Balloons
Skylines is a publicly available information tool for building data. There is a link on every building that will open the property in Cube Cities to give commercial leasing information. Please send us feature ideas and help make this tool the best way to look at building data.

Explore Skylines here:

25 April 2013

Understanding the Ivanhoé Cambridge Office Portfolio using Cube Cities

Ivanhoé Cambridge is a world-class real estate company that leverages its high-level expertise in all aspects of real estate including investment, development, asset management, leasing and operations, to deliver an optimal return for its institutional investors. The video below is a look at 16 of Ivanhoé Cambridge's trophy office properties distributed over 10 major markets and 3 countries. Cube Cities has visualized each office tower with a floor-level grid, color coded by building class. We've included a look at 73 properties recently acquired by Ivanhoé Cambridge in Silicon Valley with partners TPG and DivcoWest. 

In this visualization Cube Cities has included the portfolio's current space availabilities and highlighted the exact floor location of all available space in each office tower. This portfolio management solution is available for any large commercial real estate organization.

Fullscreen, high resolution link

Here's a more detailed look at many of the Silicon Valley properties, including a visualization illustrating the age of the buildings:

Fullscreen, high resolution link

18 April 2013

3D Buildings Without Google: New Technology From the Taipei City Government

3D Taipei - From Local Government
The Urban Planning Department at the Taipei City Government has recently launched an innovative Google Earth website for exploring Taipei's urban fabric. The application uses a low-texturing technique for mass generation of 3D building models. Their concept is to use as few different image textures as possible to keep the models file size small enough to load and unload rapidly as the user flies through the city. As demonstrated in the video below, the buildings flash onto the screen in white and are quickly rendered with simple textures. In fact, the textures are so simple they could be said to resemble a low-pixel video game like Mindcraft. The simple texturing is just enough to appreciate the building materials and most architectural elements. This technique is combined with an implementation of data regionating that intelligently draws only the 3D buildings within the user's range of view.

The user experience is an effective street-level understanding of neighbourhoods, but the trade off is not having the ability to sense urban density by gazing across the virtual skylines found in Google's 3D building imagery. The Urban Planning Department has also included a purple massing layer that illustrates urban density and allows users to click any building and find data points on structural height and building type.

Low Texture, High Efficiency 3D Building Models in Taipei 

Taipei Massing Model
Sample user experience:

Find a link to the Urban Planning Department's 3D mapping website here. Note that it is built on a Microsoft platform that uses web elements specific to Microsoft's ASP framework and works only with Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox do not work. The site is entirely in Chinese but is easily navigable.