Mixed-use strategy creates new urban clusters

Keynote address by Thomas Beyerle, Managing Director, Catella Property Valuation.
Filmed at MIPIM 2019 by Real Asset Media

Cities’ Central Business Districts (CBD) have long been the first and main destination for investors but that is all changing now, delegates heard at Real Asset Media’s ‘Innovation – driving urban development’ Investment Briefing, which was held at MIPIM.

‘The next step in the evolution of modern cities is the end of the CBD,’ said Thomas Beyerle, Managing Director, Catella Property Valuation. ‘The implementation of a mixed-use strategy will lead to the creation of many dynamic, lively urban spaces, attractive for different groups’.

A combination of residential, office, retail and hotel concepts in inner city locations will bring about urban development. Examples of this trend can already be seen in the Four complex in Frankfurt, in King’s Cross in London and in Bolands Quay in Dublin, where Facebook, Google and Linkedin are located.

‘Co-working and co-living concepts can be integrated in inner city, mixed-use concepts, with positive effects for both companies and employees and the flourishing of shops, restaurants and cafés,’ Beyerle said. ‘The clustering of many factors of urban living is the embodiment of a lifestyle that is attractive to innovative and creative individuals’.

Some urbanites’ world will literally be in one building. ‘We are looking at the first generation of people who may live on the top floor, work in the middle, do their shopping, dining and entertaining on the ground floor and their exercising in the basement gym,’ he said.

In order to be successful in attracting  a concentration of innovative companies and individuals, these new urban clusters must be in a central location and close to transport hubs. ‘There will be no more development in the middle of nowhere’, Beyerle said. 

Other important requirements are affordable rents, cultural attractions and leisure activities and local amenities like supermarkets, shops and medical services. Ideally, there should also be funding opportunities, banks and venture capital, a support network, universities, research centres and service providers.

Architecture is another important success factor, as buildings must have open-plan office space but also private meeting rooms and spaces for events. Other features will be industry-specific amenities. Branding, Beyerle predicts, will become increasingly important, with a central marketing concept and a professional development of new ideas.

People must be at the centre of it all because top-down, artificial projects invariably fail.

‘Human capital is the most important element for urban innovation,’ Beyerle said. ‘The start-up culture is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Creative people are usually attracted to diverse, open-minded, friendly cities with a good living and working environment. The three T’s are important: Technology, Talent and Tolerance’.

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