As the Covid-19 crisis has hit the UK property industry, questions as to what comes next have been on everyone’s mind.
The retail, hospitality, leisure, office and residential sectors have all seen significant changes in the past few months and as we emerge from lockdown, this could drive the reinvention of the city as we know it today.
Hosted by Andrew Teacher, Blackstock brought together a number of leaders from across real estate to explore this impact on regeneration projects post-lockdown and discuss the progress of their current developments, in this latest PropCast series for Property Week.
Episode 1: Meyer Bergman and Yoo Capital discuss the outlook for cities
On this first episode of the series, CEO of pan-European investment manager Meyer Bergman, Marcus Meijer, and John Hitchcox, founder of design studio YOO and chairman of YOO Capital, spoke about their optimism for the future.
“I think it is a great time to build, it’s a great time to discuss your building prices, it’s a great time to design, it’s a great time to get planning, and it’s a great time for these unique projects,” said Hitchcox.
Meanwhile, Meijer believes core European cities “will continue to thrive and have strong interest from tenants for offices and residential, and retail in the right places, but also from institutional investors.”
Episode 2: Sir Stuart Lipton and former RIBA president Jack Pringle say the office is not dead
Andrew Teacher spoke to industry stalwarts, Sir Stuart Lipton of Lipton Roger Developments, and Jack Pringle, EMEA regional director of Perkins and Will, who argued that despite the likely increase in remote and agile working, offices will remain key as spaces for community and collaboration.
“The usefulness of the office is going to be much more about face-to-face meetings and brainstorming activity, with the office as a sort of club where you can come and get to know people and have great ideas that will drive your business forward,” said Pringle.
This means bringing our spaces into the 21st Century, argued Sir Lipton, “We’ve got to make the office building a place. So that when you walk in you don’t feel like it’s a mausoleum. It shouldn’t have stone on the walls and floor, it should have art and technology.”
Episode 3: Homes England and Avison Young say York Central’s time has come
Ian Gray, project director at Homes England and Network Rail, and Avison Young’s head of regeneration, Stuart Howie, joined us on our third episode of our city regeneration PropCast series to discuss why now is the perfect opportunity to push forward the £700 million York Central scheme.
“If you can be developing and de-risking [a long-term project], getting some tenants in to get phase one away, so you’re hitting the uptick of the economy, there’s no better time to launch a major scheme,” says Howie.
Gray believes York Central, a project that has been in planning for some 20 years, will successfully deliver on the government’s agenda around vacant public land and the best use for it by bringing a valuable piece of York city centre to life.
Episode 4: Demand for quality will increase, says Darroch
In the final episode of this PropCast series, Blackstock invited Chris Darroch, fund management director at Federated Hermes, to discuss the institutional appetite for long-term regeneration projects given the lack of Grade A commercial space in many regional cities.
With the crisis forcing us to rethink space, Darroch argues that quality will be key.
“Our experience was tenants were not taking second-hand space, they wanted space to be refurbished to a good standard and be in a very good location, and they were trading up and prepared to pay more rent. I don’t see that trend diminishing. There’s a shortage of supply of Grade A space in provincial cities and there’s very little building and so I think that there is still a future in regeneration projects,” he says.