There were a couple of interesting (real estate related) articles in the Guardian last week that I was unable to post on. Simon Jenkins article on the sheer number of increasingly under-used churches and the challenges of finding additional uses for them highlights what is a fascinating and essentially a real estate issue. Surely someone must have looked at this issue before for one of the large dioceses? There is a Churches Conservation Trust. To put it rather bluntly, it’s seems like a standard problem of surplus corporate real estate but where the surplus ‘assets’ have huge community, cultural and historical significance and sensitivity. With diocesan structures, I’d guess that there are few centres of strategic expertise. As a society, do we need to develop good practice templates here? Are lots of opportunities to do ‘good things’ being missed? Simon Wolfson…It seems like a good area for a grand challenge. Perhaps there’s been PhDs or dissertations on the topic?
Oliver Wainwright’s piece seemed timed to coincide with the visit of the Chinese premier to the UK. It highlights a number of major projects by Chinese developers in London. I’m not really sure that it contains anything new but it does provide more examples of cross-border real estate development – “driven by challenges in the Chinese domestic market” apparently. As noted before, it would be interesting to know more about whether this is part of a shift towards globalizing real estate development. Remember that Canary Wharf was developed by Toronto-based Olympia and York in the late 1980s. Again – trends and patterns in cross-border development seems largely under-researched.