New Prospects for Brighton Area Real-Estate Development

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Last month, Onno Adriaansens, Head of Real Estate Desk, RSM Netherlands, examined the potential impact of Covid-19 upon the worldwide real-estate market, with a particular focus on how a rebalancing of working from home practices might dampen demand for office space, and lead to homebuyers looking more explicitly for purpose-built home office spaces. Given that certain parts of the economy (like leisure) have been hit particularly hard by the crisis, it follows that investment into these sectors will need to be restructured – and that means a shakeup for real estate.

In Brighton and Hove, the market has been buoyed, to some extent, by demand for properties in coastal areas. With overseas trips being avoided, people are instead looking to invest in seaside holiday homes in the UK – and Brighton provides precisely the right blend of urban convenience and natural beauty.

In the east of the city, there’s a new development in the form of Edward Street Quarter, which combines office, retail and residential space in a single site. Among the distinctive selling points of the site are the rooftop terraces, which provide a communal place to enjoy a bite to eat and some spectacular views over the city.

“It is important that teams can get together to collaborate and for some, working from home is impractical. So, we shouldn’t be waving goodbye to our office buildings just yet,” says Emma Ormiston, a partner at Siles Harold Williams. “With more and more people looking to relocate to the seaside, we envisage more businesses choosing Brighton as an office location, where they can access a large pool of talent and staff will be happy to be able to live and work by the sea.”

Another example of the city’s continued resurgence comes in the form of the redevelopment of Anston House – a building which has been abandoned for 25 years, and voted among the ugliest in the country. Permission was given in June for the eyesore to be demolished in order to make way for a trio of tower blocks offering 229 flats between them. The city council’s policy demands that forty percent of homes in schemes of this sort be classed as ‘affordable’ – around 90 of the total. The developer, First Base, counter-offered with thirty – and this has been accepted.

Adriaansens sees a range of potential solutions, determined on a case-by-case basis: “…in general, one can say that some companies will choose to reduce their office footprint and allow more remote working. Others will usher their workforce back into the office as soon as they are given the go-ahead. And yet, there may even be hybrid workforces that are a combination of both, allowing their workers more flexibility to choose where they prefer to work.

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