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Mar 31, 2017

Location, location, location – a fresh perspective?


Location, Location, Location – A Fresh Perspective?

Recently I revisited the MIPIM conference after a lengthy absence.

It is the European if not global showcase for real estate projects and played host to over 20,000 people with the lovely Cannes in the south of France as a backdrop.

I came away wondering who was going to buy or lease all the product on offer?

Walking around the vast array of booths and presentation stands it struck me that whilst the majority of people were there to sell a property or do a deal I didn’t see much evidence of the presence of those representing the other side of the equation – the user, consumer, purchaser or tenant?

It seems that corporate occupiers were very much in the minority at this event. From a London perspective, this is probably down to the fact that most development/investment decisions are based on the presumption of “build it and they (the user) will come”.

In my way of thinking I wonder whether this will remain the case given all the changes taking place in how we work, how the workforce is changing and how we use offices?

Could this in time undermine if not alter the age-old adage of location, location, location?

The focus from my short visit was to support Belfast city to present its case for recognition on the world stage. I was there to share a stage talking about the creative sector and how it interacts with the world of property – a topic which Belfast has an interesting story to tell.

As an Irishman, it is fair to say that I’m somewhat biased but taking an objective perspective I came away thinking that there is something really cool taking place in this once-troubled city.

It also provoked me to further ponder about the location, location, location principle that the vast majority of those attending MIPIM hold dear to heart. Could it be that we need to take a fresh perspective?

The evidence provided by the major banks such as Citi as they explained their love affair with Belfast is compelling.

It is not just about great buildings or good connectivity or the excellent transport links to London or indeed the plentiful supply of talent. It is a deeply held cultural connectivity with the city.

As a place maker, this resonated strongly with me.  As I wandered around the stands that represent many locations around the world it struck me that to succeed in this fast moving 21st-century we do need to take a fresh perspective on what we focus on when we consider new spaces and places.

Could it be that location, location, location morphs to a focus on creativity, collaboration and community?


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