NI: Cleaver Fulton Rankin video covers key points from future of property development event

Northern Ireland firm Cleaver Fulton Rankin has released a video highlighting the important points raised at its recent event on the future of property development.

Leading individuals from the local property, construction, real estate, hospitality and legal sectors came together at the event to address the questions of “how we work, live and play” and, equally importantly, “how we fund”.

Speakers at the event, chaired by RSUA president Joan McCoy, included Dr Bill Wolsey OBE of Beannchor Group; Trevor Leaker of AECOM; Robert Ditty of CBRE UK; Geoff Sharpe of Danske Bank; and Stephen Cross of Cleaver Fulton Rankin.

Mr Leaker discussed the revolution of office space from individual cubicles in the 1950s and the sought-after corner office of the 1980s through to the present day and beyond, with open plan and agile spaces. He not only discussed the possibility of reduced real estate costs through the development of office space but also the potential increase in revenue and productivity that comes from more positive work environments.

Mr Ditty discussed the up-and-coming trend of ‘buy-to-rent’ or “multi-family” schemes which offer luxury living. Such schemes not only offer luxurious apartment living, but have shared facilities such as gyms, guest rooms, dining rooms for private entertaining and entertainment areas. CBRE believes that these schemes, which compliment Belfast City Council’s aim to have 66,000 people living in the city centre by 2035, will be the focus of property investment in the next three to four years.

Dr Wolsey gave an insight into the changes of the pubs, clubs and restaurant sphere through the Troubles and times of peace. He was keen to stress that the legislative framework for the sector is outdated, allowing entertainment to 3am but only permitting the service of alcohol until 1am. He believes that if Belfast is to attract the volume of people to achieve city centre living, liquor licensing laws need to adapt to keep up the pace with other vibrant cities of the world and so that young people pick Belfast.

Mr Sharpe and Mr Cross discussed junior and senior bank debt as well as alternative funding structures. Mr Sharpe also discussed Danske Bank’s office redevelopment, which included the Catalyst Fintech Hub, where the event took place. Of particular interest to attendees was the forward funding financing model which can lead to a better return.

The event concluded with a panel discussion, with many interesting questions posed and answers given due to the timely nature of the event and the enthusiasm, both of the panel and the attendees.

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