Re: Re: The Question of Land

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In respect of commercial property you are absolutely right; developers only built large floor plates and it was very hard to grow organically. You get the feeling that this will change in the current market. All income is good income. I would suggest that the Anglo HQ be completed and space be made for small start up Financial companies operating much the way that the principal of the law library works.

I had to smile a month ago, I was looking at a fit out crew going into a block that had been completed for a number of years. I did a feasibility study for that block, to see if the floor plate area could be enlarged in some way to answer calls from large tenants in the market. (There wasn’t enough space, even if the large tenant took all of the floors) I asked the foreman what was happening and he told me the different individual floors had taken by smaller tenants. How things had changed I thought.

I know a couple of architects who are busy fitting out the ‘grey market’ where banks etc were quietly making their floor space pay by sub-letting it. In both these examples, you can see activity happening, albeit at a modest scale, in the middle of a recession. This is the point I keep wanting to get across to people about commercial property. The likes of Dell computer corporations are always running on a finite schedule of works in this country. We need to learn how we accomodate both up-scaling and down-scaling, prefereably on the same ‘campus’ or settlement.

The old concept of mixed use, that the original docklands masterplan was built around did not address the issue of the new smarter economy. Reading Richard Sennett for me, was a great way in which to understand the new tenants who take up the floor space in today’s world. It is not a nice world, that Richard Sennett describes in many ways, but our approach towards spatial planning and development should endeavour to fit around it as best as possible. To make the journey for the ordinary worker in the knowledge economy as pleasant a one as possible. Like Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s expression: When Elephants Learn to Dance.

Brian O’ Hanlon

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