Last week New West End Company attended the ‘largest gathering of key decision makers in the London property world’: the London Real Estate Forum (LREF). It’s always a key event in our calendar as it’s a great opportunity to meet with our property members and partners and hear the latest updates from the industry.
The theme this year was ‘People Not Property’ reflecting a gear-change in approach across the board, with a wider focus on wellbeing, good design and knowledge sharing, which we utterly support.
On the first day the keynote looked at the London economy and Deloitte’s Chief Economist Ian Stewart championed the capital’s status as a ‘tremendous magnet for people, for capital, for business’. Leader of Westminster City Council Cllr Nickie Aiken announced that the new Westminster City Plan will be published for consultation this week and as promised, it has come out today. New West End Company will be responding to this on behalf of our members.
In the evening, we attended the official dinner with Estates Gazette (EG) to celebrate people, diversity and inclusivity in the property industry. The dinner brought together more than 120 people from the built environment sector and it was great to hear about EG’s Future Leaders programme.
The morning of the second day was dedicated to international cities, which as a global shopping and leisure destination we were keen to hear about. The different perspectives on planning, development and putting people first from cities including Toronto and Tokyo threw into light new learnings for London. Tokyo in particular is years ahead of European cities in terms of technology and considering the future of older generations.
On Thursday afternoon our Chief Executive Jace Tyrrell was invited to speak on a panel about the Future of Retail. The session explored how retail and real estate players are adapting London’s shopping experience to better reflect people’s changing habits. Jace Tyrrell championed customers, cities and collaboration and opened by saying that growth depends on retailers being able to understand what the future customer wants.
In order to achieve this in London’s West End, we are launching our data programme with PwC this autumn, which provides a world-first approach to mapping visitors in our district, offering in-depth demographical data to help businesses shape their planning. For more information click here.
One nation that was on everyone’s lips throughout the conference was China. As it is such an important market, we are working with our retailers in the West End and Mayfair to ensure they are ‘China Ready’ with mobile payment systems in-store and a mini-programme on WeChat to enable Chinese visitors to seamlessly shop and explore the city. For more information on this contact Katie Thomas.
LREF 2019 closed with a reception hosted by the City Property Association, City of London and Museum of London, whose speakers presented their views on the continuing success of London as a global hub for business, technology and culture.