Effective Public Realm Initiatives Can Dramatically Improve Wellbeing And Increase Real Estate Values

Dublin, July 11th 2017 – Effective public realm intervention can dramatically improve human wellbeing and real estate values as well as supporting long-term resilience. This is one of the key findings from a study released today by global real estate advisor CBRE together with Gehl Architects. The report was formally launched to a packed audience of leading developers and stakeholders at an event at CBRE Ireland’s headquarters at Connaught House in Dublin earlier this morning. Speakers included David Sims from Gehl Architects and Richard Holberton and Paddy Conlon from CBRE.

The study reviewed 11 placemaking initiatives in the UK, Australia, USA, Italy, Denmark, Germany, France and South Korea all of which have a specific public realm intervention at their core. Gehl assessed the way in which public spaces contribute to the human experience of urban areas whilst CBRE examined the commercial effect from a demand and supply and real estate values perspective before and after the public realm intervention has taken place.

The study indicated that creativity and investment can improve the public realm in such a way that the human experience of a place is materially enhanced. By focusing on this aspect, and assuming effective infrastructure public realm initiatives create greater desire to visit, an increase in dwell time, more expenditure and in turn greater demand amongst visitors, workers, shoppers, and residents to locate there permanently. In this way, public realm improvements have a very positive impact on commercial real estate values. In London, Granary Square, King’s Cross and Duke of York Square, Chelsea formed part of the study. The results demonstrated in Granary Square are of particular interest. From a real estate perspective, the stand-out performers have been retail and residential. While average house prices in prime Central London rose by 48% between 2011 and 2016, average prices in King’s Cross have increased by 61%. There has also been a marked improvement in retail quality. It is likely that without high-quality design of the public realm, this vast new area of development would struggle to establish a reputation in the market as a desirable location for retailers, employers and residents alike.

The global study demonstrates the importance of creative placemaking. For planners, it means facilitating design towards enhancing the human experience. This means maintaining any good-quality public space that exists through innovative measures keeping up with new trends, and embarking on a quest to make more of it available. It also means that proposed new developments should be judged on their ability to enhance public life. For developers and investors, value resilience depends on the success of the place. Not all developments will have the ability to create an outdoor public realm that is free to use, but some will. Where opportunity exists, with the ability to enhance the brand of a building and location, should be taken. Where it is not available, there should be a clear contribution to the public realm that exists.

For occupiers, who are concerned with recruiting and retaining increasingly scarce talent, proximity to great public spaces is important. The boundaries between work and leisure time are ever more blurred, so the walls of the workplace become ever more permeable. The public realm and the work-anywhere culture are inextricably linked.

Paddy Conlon, Head of Advisory Services & Transactions - Offices
This study has demonstrated how well thought out placemaking initiatives can have positive impacts on both the quality and human experience of urban spaces. It is no coincidence that good placemaking can, in turn, realise positive incremental effects on real estate values and attract potential occupiers, which is particularly pertinent in Ireland as we continue to seek to attract the best international talent. As a business, we recognise the importance of identifying, creating and delivering a holistic approach to development opportunities and an important contributor to that is paying attention to the characteristics and intrinsic benefits of placemaking to drive demand and create value longevity. Ireland will continue to compete for large multinational FDI projects and there is no doubt that increasingly these large corporates are going to locate in cities that give them the best chance of attracting global talent. The development community can play a key role in delivering great places to live, work and shop which should have the dual benefit of adding value to their existing portfolios as well as ensuring that Ireland continues to be a great place to live and work.
Paddy Conlon, Head of Advisory Services & Transactions - Offices

For more information or to download a copy of the report please see www.cbre.com/globalplacemaking

About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2016 revenue). The company has more than 75,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through approximately 450 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com

CBRE U.C., (CBRE Ireland) registered in Ireland, no. 316570. PSRA Licence No. 001528 is the country’s largest commercial real estate services company with offices in Dublin and Cork. Currently employing over 135 employees, we work with occupiers, investors and developers of office, industrial and logistic, retail, hotel and healthcare property, providing strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; tenant representation, corporate services; property and project management; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management and debt advisory; business rates and compulsory purchase and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.ie