The Leader Magazine

MAR 2019

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T he last decade has seen a considerable shift in attitude toward the role of property in business. We're gradually moving away from seeing property as merely a cost centre and appreciating its strategic role in helping the organisation achieve its objectives. Well-managed commercial buildings enable organisations to function at their most efficient and effective level, achieving collaborations and offering real added value to the core business. So far, very little consideration has been given to the role of place itself and how to harness this dimension to add value. Why is this the case? Is a building's location and how it relates with its neighbours not important? Site selection and metro planning are important corporate real estate (CRE) functions. Yet there are few opportunities for CRE teams to shape the places where corporate facilities are housed. The supply side of the equation is usually the preserve of urban designers, municipal bodies, regeneration corporations and developers who shape the agenda. Is this realistic in a 21st century where change is forcing organisations to challenge so many widely held assumptions? Should the place-making process remain the preserve of the supply side or could the actual consumers of spaces and places have a say? What value can a CRE team bring to the table in terms of playing a role in master planning a neighbourhood? When real estate executives cite the old adage "location, location, location," it is typically as- sumed that location is a constant in the valuation equation. There is a growing realisation that, in fact, location is a variable factor in an asset's lifecycle; more importantly, one that can be influenced with a creative vision, strategic focus, and patience. As Deyan Sudjic 1 argues in Shaping Cities in an Urban Age, "cities are changed as much by ideas as they are by things or technologies. And it is ideas that shape the way that we use and respond to technologies." One of the key factors is the massive reduction in office-based demand brought about by the demise of the 'one person, one desk' workplace structure. This has resulted in many corporations having to consider a significant rationalisation of long-established corporate campuses. Another major aspect is that global workforce demographics are shifting, with a greater number of younger people entering work than ever before. Given that 70 percent of them rank a quality workplace above salary and a substantial 88 percent of Millennials 2 seek by Chris Kane 38 March 2019 the leader F E A T U R E A R T I C L E Place-making: A new strategic role for corporate real estate teams?

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