Communities - sustainable urban centres

How can ESG principles help redevelop urban centres? Can they still support investor landlords' ROI? What are the challenges to change?

One of the many societal shifts seen over the last few years has been around consumer behaviour and what is now looking like a permanent altering of how we purchase products and services. How we use the land and property within our urban centres has struggled to keep up with the changes in buying habits, resulting in the now familiar sight of empty units and increasing dereliction in many parts of our towns and centres. 

However, as ESG continues up the agenda in boardrooms around the world, a new model of collaboration appears to be emerging in our town and city centres that has social at its core. With property owners less able to rely on big retail brands to fill their centres, the question of what comes next is being answered through the emergence of independent start-up businesses and hubs that offer a more overt link to their communities.

Over the last year, Shoosmiths has been working on a project – Platform: a town centre innovation programme – to explore what more can be done to open up town centre property for a more diverse range of occupiers, while ensuring that investors are sufficiently incentivised and supported to bring them into their schemes. The project has emphasised a number of challenges at the heart of our cities, but also a shared willingness across city centre stakeholders to find solutions that will breathe life back into our cities.

“We need to look outside of the familiar names for the occupier of the future,” says Matt Soffair, Research Manager, Retail and Leisure Real Assets at Legal & General Investment Management. “We feel there is a big opportunity and a big demand from consumers for more locally orientated businesses that are plugged into their communities and offer something different.”

I don’t think enough is said about the social
value a lot of retail assets have to their communities.

It is a shift from being what was a librarian of
space to being more of an editor of space.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.


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