City Centre Real Estate Markets: Changing Retail Practice and Adaptation, 2020-2021

Orr, Allison M and Stewart, Joanna and Gardner, Alan (2022). City Centre Real Estate Markets: Changing Retail Practice and Adaptation, 2020-2021. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Service. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-855943

The retail sector is crucial to the economic health and vitality of towns and cities and is a core component of the national economy, but is experiencing an ongoing period of change and the challenges faced by centres are being met in different ways, with different outcomes. Consumers are behaving, shopping and using urban centres in new and diverse ways and many retailing centres have experienced falling footfall, retailer closures and a rise in empty retail units. In an attempt to reverse the cycle of decline, centres need to be multi-functional places and policy-makers are encouraging more mixed use development. Large-scale mixed-use re-development of obsolete stock, novel temporary land uses, events and public realm works are being used to try to make urban centres more attractive and increase their competitive edge. Yet, not everyone is experiencing the benefits of these changes. Mistrust, tension and conflict can arise from land use changes and become barriers to further renewal and change, limiting the effectiveness of these "town centre first" policies. A recent ESRC-funded study undertaken by researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University blamed these tensions and lack of co-operation as significant contributors to the continued declined of retailing in many centres (Parker, 2015). This project investigates one of the largest stakeholder groups within the sector. The objectives and behaviour of land and property owners, developers and investors are significant to the use and form of retailing centres. The project explores how ownership and the behaviour of this stakeholder group impact on the sector, by exploring issues around changing ownership and use patterns; innovations in design form; the ability of the industry to respond to change; and the ways the group engages and interacts with other stakeholders in urban centres. Thus, it aims to examine how their expectations, perceptions, practices and co-operation help or limit experimentation with new uses, building types and designs. The mixed method study, using primary and secondary data, explores issues around: whether retailers and landlords in city centres are becoming more or less diverse; whether new design formats, flexible uses and large scale redevelopments can help struggling centres; the extent to which established practices and procedures in the real estate market encourage or even hinder new uses; and whether stakeholders can work together in better ways for the future health of town and city centres. These issues are examined using five case study cities over the period 1997-2017: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Sheffield and Nottingham.

Data description (abstract)

The Real Estate Adaptation and Innovation within an integrated Retailing system (REPAIR) project, conducted at the University of Glasgow and University of Sheffield, investigated the changes experienced across the retail cores of five UK cities Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Liverpool and Nottingham between 2000 and 2021. The project examined different aspects of the property market and built environment across four separate work streams. The primary data stored here relates to Work Package C and was collected via semi-structured interviews with landlords and property professional practitioners managing assets and/or providing other property services to investors. The interviews investigate the implications of the structural changes experienced in recent years in city centre retail markets for owners, investors and developers. The findings explore the issues around redundant and vacant properties, and how investment behaviours and property market practices are adapting. The later interviews also capture the effects of the pandemic on retailing centres.

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Orr Allison M University of Glasgow
Stewart Joanna University of Glasgow
Gardner Alan University of Glasgow
Sponsors: Economic and Social Research Council
Grant reference: ES/R005117/1
Topic classification: Housing and land use
Project title: Real Estate Adaptation and Innovation within an integrated Retailing system (REPAIR)
Alternative title: Real Estate Adaptation and Innovation within an integrated Retailing system (REPAIR) (Work Package C)
Grant holders: Allison M Orr
Date published: 14 Sep 2022 14:36
Last modified: 14 Sep 2022 14:37

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