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New research project to explore UK cities’ commercial property needs

28th February 2018

The ability of UK cities to provide the right commercial space to support and attract occupiers is a crucial factor in determining their economic success. But how do the commercial property priorities of different cities vary across the country? And what can city leaders do to ensure that development in their areas meets the needs of businesses?

These questions will be explored in a new research project announced ahead of this year’s MIPIM conference by the leading urban economics think tank Centre for Cities, with support from Capita Real Estate and Infrastructure.

The research, which will be published this summer, will explore what type of commercial space and public realm different UK cities should provide in order to meet the needs of their existing occupiers, and to attract more businesses and jobs into their area.

In particular, it will explore some of the following key questions:

  • What kinds of businesses locate in different UK cities, and why?
  • How are business bases of UK cities evolving, and what implications does this have for their commercial property needs?
  • What are the needs of businesses – and how well are UK cities meeting them?
  • What barriers do cities face in meeting the commercial property needs of businesses – and how can they be overcome?

As well as setting out a UK-wide perspective in regards to these questions, the research will examine policy ideas and solutions for city leaders, drawing on existing good practice in urban areas.

Commenting on the research launch, Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, said:
“For UK cities to develop and grow their economies, they need to be able to provide the right conditions for businesses to thrive and create jobs, and offering appropriate commercial space is a critical part of that. But different cities have distinct commercial space needs, and city leaders need a clear understanding of the priorities for their areas to make the right decisions about commercial development.
“This will be particularly important in the upcoming local industrial strategies. We hope this research will help to shed light on the varying needs of different cities when it comes to their commercial space. We also hope it will help cities across the country address challenges they face in meeting the property needs of businesses, and make the most of the opportunities that exist in their areas.”

By understanding the needs of occupiers across the UK, we will be better place to advise them on making the right investment choices against their priorities and support them in the development of existing assets. This research will help us look differently at the potential of underutilised land, brownfield sites, sites around transport hubs and stations as we consider the different needs identified for continued sector growth in the UK economy.

Deborah McLaughlin, Managing Director, Real Estate Projects Capita Real Estate and Infrastructure

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