Due to continuing global economic malaise (highlighted by today's disappointing GDP figures) IPD capital value figures, biased towards prime stock, show values are still c 35% lower than June 2007, and thus we believe our prognosis has not improved one jot. Values will not improve by magic without, for example, investing in a building's fabric, tenant incentives to secure the right operators, re-gearing leases, reconfiguring space and establishing development opportunities or investing in marketing.
What the whole debate about the future of the high street has done is to focus the debate less on the impact on the investor or the retailer but more on local communities. Neglected or under-managed assets undermine the overall perception, health and environment of a town centre, creating a disincentive to visit and ultimately leading to a migration to consumers quickly followed by businesses. Dare I say it this is much more of an issue for shopping centres than other real estate class. They are at the heart of local communities and their appearance is a very visible illustration of the success of failure of a town or city.
Through our campaigning on the Portas Review we have led the establishment of a Distressed Retail Property Taskforce and I'm please to say that from central and local government to large investors in retail property have all agreed to come together and establish how industry working in partnership with the public sector can get investment back into these places, despite the difficulty, and risk, in doing so. Ultimately we all recognise that doing nothing is not an option, as we strongly believe this is one of the biggest issues we face as an industry today and a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed to revitalise the high street and critically the communities they serve.
This issue is being debated by a panel at BCSC's Conference and Exhibition between 10 - 12 September this year.