Property and Construction
July 22, 2013
The Mayor of New York Michael Bloomburg has announced a series of initiatives to promote physical activity through the design of buildings and public spaces to encourage architects, planners and urban designers help combat obesity in the City. The Center for Active Design, a non-profit organization that promotes changes to the built environment to improve wellness is being created, and the Mayor has issued an Executive Order requiring City agencies use active design strategies when performing new construction and major renovation projects. Two pieces of legislation will promote stairway access in all buildings, with measures such as making stairways more visible to encourage use. more…
July 17, 2013
The much talked about plans to redevelop Smithfield market have been given the green light by City of London planners. As we reported earlier this year, the development in the heart of a London district renowned for its creative industries, including many of the UK’s leading workplace design studios, has been the subject of a great deal of scrutiny and controversy. Now the City of London’s planning and transport committee has voted to approve the scheme designed by John McAslan + Partners. Most of the objections were made by campaigners based on the heritage of the historic site.
July 16, 2013
The global economic outlook is strong for the second half of 2013, while the prospects for corporate growth and expansion are also increasing, according to the views of corporate executives surveyed in June for the new CoreNet Global Confidence Index. Nearly two-thirds (62.5%) rated their outlook on the global economy for the coming six months as optimistic to very optimistic, compared to a year ago. Most (72.4%) reported the likelihood that flexible, open workplace strategies will increase, while space per work setting and/or work settings per supported worker will be reduced.
July 15, 2013
The European Commission is gathering views on how to reduce the environmental impacts of buildings. The consultation will focus on resources such as materials (including waste), water and embedded energy and aims to address resource use and related environmental impacts throughout the life-cycle of buildings, from the extraction of building materials to demolition and recycling of materials. James Drinkwater, Senior Policy Advisor for the Europe Regional Network of the World Green Building Council, welcomed the move: “It is incredibly important that the green building movement gets behind this evolution in building policy, and engages with the Commission on what the right strategic direction is going forward.” more…
July 12, 2013
A 50:50 joint venture partnership to capitalise on the thriving London office market has been formed by Hermes Real Estate Investment Management Ltd and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. CPPIB is investing £173.9 million to acquire a 50 per cent interest from Hermes’ BT Pension Scheme’s (BTPS) existing portfolio, which comprises 550,000 sq ft of high quality offices, retail and ancillary accommodation, primarily located in London’s West End. Graeme Eadie, Senior Vice-President and Head of Real Estate Investments for CPPIB, said: “We are pleased to be partnering with BTPS and Hermes on this unique opportunity to invest in a high quality, well-diversified portfolio of office properties in prime Central London locations.”
July 12, 2013
Dubai will be kicking itself at the news that the world’s largest building, or rather world’s largest standalone man-made structure, has opened in China. The New Century Globe Centre in Sichuan province is a mixed use development housing offices, leisure facilities, hotels, shops, restaurants and even a beach resort warmed by an artificial sun. The 18-storey, glass and steel frame structure, is situated above a new metro station in Chengdu, stands 100 metres high, is 500 metres long and 400 metres wide giving it a floor space of 1.7m sq. m. making it the world’s largest standalone building, beating the previous record holder Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport by around 50,000 sq. m. and, as measured according to internationally recognised lazy media shorthand analogies, able to house 20 Sydney Opera Houses.
July 12, 2013
News emerges from BNP Paribas that the most dynamic occupiers in Western European property markets belong to the technology, media and telecoms (TMT) sector and that the most important market in the region is London. This comes as no surprise given the plans of Google to move to its new home in King’s Cross and the focus on developments in Tech City. But the same hothousing of TMT businesses is also evident in the area Prime Minister David Cameron has referred to as Silicon Alley, a cluster of businesses running alongside the M4 originally clustered between Reading and Swindon but now extending as far as Bristol. Companies that have found a home in the area include the likes of Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Ericsson, Vodafone, O2, Citrix, Dell, Huawei, Lexmark, LG, Novell, Nvidia, Panasonic, SAP and Symantec not to mention the countless other smaller businesses, consultants and freelancers that share this hothouse.
July 11, 2013
The UK Green Building Council is accepting nominations for the first-ever European Regional Leadership Awards, part of the World Green Building Council Leadership Awards 2013, which recognise international best practice in city-level government policy for green building initiatives. The regional awards are for best practice in green building initiatives, projects, and policies that are supporting healthier and more sustainable communities within the European Region. “The awards promote leadership and inspire governments to replicate best practices in green building policy,” said the WorldGBC’s Chief Executive Officer, Jane Henley. “Buildings represent an unrivalled opportunity to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and cities play an increasingly critical role in seizing this opportunity.”
July 10, 2013
Deskheads of a certain vintage may have viewed the news that Zaha Hadid had bought the Design Museum’s London home for £10 million in a somewhat different light to much of the media that reported the sale. While journalists succumbed to the apparently irresistible pull of architectural headline magnet Zaha, to some of us the interesting part of the story was that the sale finally freed the Design Museum to move to the long empty Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington. The building is one of the most architecturally important modern buildings in London and has a long association not only with The Commonwealth Institute educational charity but as a venue for cultural events and exhibitions of design, not least the now defunct Prima and Spectrum exhibitions which did so much to promote commercial interior design in the UK.
July 9, 2013
High-rise buildings tend to evoke a love-hate response, and being green is usually not a strong feature. However a new high-rise is being planned in California which aims to join the handful of tall buildings in North America to achieve the U.S. Green Buildings Council’s LEED Platinum certification. The 37-storey Century City Center will integrate the best new engineering and technological practices and innovations to deliver the first new build LEED Platinum “green-rise” in Los Angeles and Southern California. It promises, say developers JMB Realty Corporation, to effectively create a new benchmark in sustainable performance for the commercial office market in America’s second-largest urban region.
July 8, 2013
The iconic Richard Roger’s-designed Lloyd’s Building at One Lime Street, London EC3, has been sold to Ping An, a Chinese insurance company for £260 million, it’s been confirmed. The Lloyd’s Building will continue to house the world’s leading insurance market as it is let in its entirety to the Society of Lloyd’s on a lease expiring in 2031. Jon Crossfield, director within Savills’ Central London team, says “This is a potentially landmark transaction, given it is the first by a Chinese Insurance company overseas. It is a high profile and confident entry to the market for them and further illustrates the dominance of overseas investors in London at present.” The commercial property deal, which represents the first purchase by a Chinese insurance company in the UK was managed by Commerz Real and advised by Savills and CBRE.
July 4, 2013
Reforms to strip out inefficiencies in public sector construction – including the use of building information modelling (BIM) and the creation of a sustainable supply chain have generated £447 million in savings and will deliver up to 20 per cent savings in project costs by 2015, Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith has announced. By making links across departments the Government has also been able to act as a single customer to the construction industry and provide clear benchmarks for budgets by setting out the average price it expects to pay for projects. The Government has now published a new set of benchmarks that are designed to drive down project costs even further and encourage the industry to offer more competitive and innovative solutions. more…
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