Realcast: UK swerves, Frasers eyes malls, Swiss buy huge US hotel, placemaking measured

In the headlines this week:

Although the ONS reported that the UK has so far avoided a technical recession as GDP was flat in Q4 2022 following a 0.3% contraction in the third quarter, the IMF has stated that the UK is set to be the worst performing G7 country in 2023 in terms of GDP.

Meanwhile, Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group is reported to be lining up a £100 million war chest to bid on a series of UK shopping centres in the hope that the declines in value are beginning to stabilise. Frasers is in advanced talks to buy the Overgate Centre in Dundee, Scotland for £30 million and The Mall in Luton for £17 million – Legal & General paid Landsec £125 million for Overgate nine years ago. Almost £8 billion has been wiped off the value of UK shopping centres, a drop of 67%, according to research group MSCI.

Also in the UK, Network Rail and Transport for London have announced a new partnership to provide 20,000 new homes in the capital over the next decade.

In the world of luxury fashion, Kering Group, owner of Gucci, YvesSaint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, has acquired space for a major new store on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris and is reportedly planning to open a 2,000 sq m flagship store for Gucci.

In the last week Google’s market value had about $120 billion wiped off after AI chatbot Bard gave an incorrect answer to a query.

Elsewhere, the life science sector received a further boost as British Airways’ new Airways Pension Scheme and Singapore’s SWF GIC formed a joint venture with BlackRock Alternatives and Reef Group for the development of Tribeca King’s Cross scheme in London’s knowledge quarter.

The hospitality sector has seen one of the largest hotel acquisitions in the US since 2021. Credit Suisse Asset Management and Trinity Investments have acquired the 1,000-room Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood South Florida following its $90 million refurbishment.

And in Paris, Tikehau Capital has acquired 172-key four-star hotel, the Hotel California, and is planning extensive renovation and repositioning.

In Ireland, IPUT has launched one of the world’s first studies to measure the impact of placemaking on a city neighbourhood. It will monitor the Wilton Park development in Dublin which IPUT is developing.

In other research, a study by digital platform provider Drooms surveyed hundreds of experts in Europe and found that, despite the crisis, real estate professionals in Europe are increasing their innovation budgets and anticipate business growth this year – 37% expect their revenues to increase, 37.5% expect stagnation and 25% expected decline. However, ESG is still not being taken on board and only 32% of respondents said they can comply with ESG regulations.

And positive news from California, where a start-up which has been using rocks to soak up carbon dioxide has now teamed up with a Canadian company to mineralise carbon dioxide in concrete using direct air capture technology which speeds up the natural process by which limestone absorbs CO2 from the air.

Click on the video to see the full discussion or listen to the podcast below.