ULI UK: Design for Investment

On 6th March, Chris Choa, Vice President, AECOM and ULI Infrastructure Council Chair chaired a dynamic panel sharing insights into how building design can affect the performance of the building as an investment. He used two examples of recent London developments – Kings Place, developed by Parabola Land Ltd, and Central Saint Giles, designed by Renzo Piano and owned by Legal & General.

The panel included Simon Wilkes – Head of Development, Legal & General Property and Peter Williams EMEA Building Engineering Leader for AECOM who outlined some of the challenges of design through to completion for Central St Giles. Ziona Strelitz, ZZA Responsive User Environments and Peter Millican, Parabola Land, shared how the mixed use development of Kings Place led to a highly valued community asset.

Both buildings were designed and developed with a strong vision that provided a space for the surrounding community to enjoy and a design that maximised the building size without dominating the street scape. Both sites initially received significant local opposition, but through an active programme of community liaison, both are now supported and respected by the local residents.

In summary, both developments fulfilled the following key requirements:

  • A passion and vision improving public life;
  • Intense community consultation;
  • Integrated cultural programme;
  • Minimal impact on the local street scene;
  • High environmental credentials; and
  • Flexible floor space.

The panel debated and shared how long-term vision for both developments combined with unique design meant that, despite the challenging economic cycle, their buildings were let quickly. Social and community values were integral to both designs. In both cases, it was concluded that the high-end design coupled with the developer’s long term vision contributed to creating significant returns on investment.