A demonstration of sustainability in today’s real estate sector
Repurposing is the new buzzword in today’s real estate sector. The large and still increasing amount of vacant commercial property on the market is an outward manifestation of two of the major’s changes to life as we knew it some 18 months ago.
The first is the working-from-home phenomenon. It was already starting to grow before Covid hit us, encouraged by the continuous innovation in collaboration and communication software, and the ease of communication this brings, and the situation looks like it will remain in part, even after people gradually return to their offices.
Companies are therefore busily shrinking the amount of space they require, as they know working remotely will continue to be a fact of life for a lot of their staff. It’s now easier than ever to operate a business digitally, talk to your staff, suppliers and customers online, and showcase your brand or products globally to a vast audience.
The second change is the impact lockdown has had on the UK economy. High street businesses of all descriptions – from retail to hospitality and entertainment – have been forced to close permanently due to a lack of customers. Shoppers have turned to online retail, and brands that were slow in their adoption, or didn’t trade in that space at all, have paid the price. Rent and bills still needed to be paid even if the outlet wasn’t trading, whether it was a shop, restaurant or entertainment venue, and the debt simply became too much for many.
All of this, and much more, simply created the perfect economic storm which has resulted in vast swathes of property now currently standing empty.
Set against this is the pressing need for more social and affordable housing – which brings us back to our new buzzword: repurposing.
But repurposing is really nothing more than operating sustainably. Yes, it’s great to see a city skyline is full of cranes: it shows a thriving and optimistic economy. In certain circumstances, old and derelict buildings are fit for nothing except demolition and making way for new, exciting, greener and more practical buildings. But, as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?
Not everything that appears rundown, forlorn and neglected needs to be destroyed. This is our heritage. Our buildings reflect our long, glorious and varied history; many tell a story, and even more have so much character. Something even the most architecturally stunning of new buildings sometimes lack.
Global Guardians has always striven to be at the forefront of its sector – using vacant property of all types to provide much needed affordable homes for working people while a building is being refurbished, sold or let, or waiting for planning permission for redevelopment.
And we have demonstrated over and over how many of our properties don’t really need to be demolished. If we can make them habitable and homely for people, with a bit of creativity and purpose, then their real owners can do the same – not temporarily, but permanently. Offices can be converted to flats, and so can all sorts of other buildings, such as warehouses, factories, museums and libraries, theatres and churches. We have turned them all into vibrant communities of sociable, creative and hard-working people.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Bert Lance, Director of the Office of Management and Budget in US President Jimmy Carter’s 1977 administration, was right. He is said to have coined the phrase more than 40 years ago, and has been one of the key objectives of Global Guardians, from when we first started our business, to show people how empty property can be put to a beneficial, sustainable use, for years.
We’re proud of our history and what we’ve achieved. Whether you call it repurposing, sustainability, or simply being pragmatic and economical, it works, and people are finally practising what we’ve been preaching all this time.
To learn more about our sustainable options for your vacant property, visit www.global-guardians.co.uk