Monday, 15 May 2017

Professor Nick French talks...

Nick French (Professor in Real Estate at Oxford Brookes University) has been talking a bit more than usual recently...

Nick French (3rd from left) being introduced by Thomas Ziogas from NEI Hellas

On 10 April, Nick gave a CPD presentation to the RICS Hellas in Athens...he was in Athens researching the MSc Real Estate field trip which will take place towards the end of May. The talk, entitled 'Valuing In Uncertain Times – Property and the Economy', focused on Real Estate and Brexit from a UK/London and European perspective:
  • the Economics of debt - UK and European and World debt
  • the UK after the Financial Economic Crisis (FEC) and BREXIT
  • what is market value in a volatile world?
  • acknowledging uncertainty in valuations - RICS guidance

Nick in action

The presentation was followed by a round table discussion with local professionals. Paula Booras, Board Member of RICS Hellas said: 'We thank Nick for supporting our RICS Hellas CPD event in Greece. He is a remarkable speaker with a great sense of humor which surely captivates his audience every time.'

Next stop, the Property Recruitment Forum to present an 'Introduction to Property' session for HR staff working in the property industry. The event was held on 3 May 2017 at Savills on Margaret Street in London, and included the following topics:

  • The Property Cycle
  • Economics made simple
  • Valuation and Pricing 
  • Legal and Planning Framework
  • Property Management

What's next for Nick? He's taking the MSc Real Estate students (and a few members of staff) to Athens next week for the annual European Field Trip. Report and (plenty of) photos to follow.





Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Knight Frank Development Project Prize 2017

Adrian Wilson (left) with Robbie Clarke, Hugo Bland and Max Hulse (right)

Once again, OBREMS (our alumni society), with the support of Knight Frank, have rewarded the efforts of three third year undergraduate students on the BSc Real Estate Management. The prizes were based on performance in their Development Project. 

First prize (£250 and an internship at Knight Frank) went to Robbie Clarke
Second prize (£175) was awarded to Hugo Bland and the third prize (£75) went to Max Hulse.

This year, the Development Project was a feasibility study of two logistics units at Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT). This site is being used as a case study for all final year modules (take a look at the blog post on DIRFT here). The students were required to undertake a market analysis of the scheme and determine the land value and potential funding options of the site using current market parameters. Their recommendations were contained in a full report of the scheme.

DIRFT - the location for the Development Project

The winning team produced a joint report and then each gave a short presentation to the awarding committee. The committee comprised: Adrian Wilson (Head of Development, Knight Frank), Rebecca Gee (BSc REM Subject Coordinator, Oxford Brookes) and Nick French (Professor in Real Estate, Oxford Brookes).






Thursday, 27 April 2017

The UGs go to Birmingham...

The second year undergraduate students in the School of the Built Environment (Real Estate, Construction and Planning/Urban Design) joined together for the February 2017 field trip to Birmingham. The trip is part of the second year integrative project module, a module which gives students the opportunity to integrate the knowledge and experience that they have already gained during the first two years by completing and presenting a group project. For the Birmingham field trip project, students will be working together in small groups to produce a workable proposal that will be presented to a panel of judges (much like in real life). Each group consists of a mix of students (and skills) from across Real Estate, Construction and Planning/Urban Design. Click on the links for more information...especially the Warwick Bar link which has loads of information about this very interesting area.

The location of the development site for the project is Warwick Bar, situated in the Digbeth area of Birmingham. Warwick Bar is situated in a conservation area and lies ten minutes walk to the east of Birmingham city centre. Surrounded on three sides by the historic Grand Union Canal, Digbeth Branch Canal and the River Rea, the area was home to a complex of factories and workshops and is now being redeveloped to provide accommodation for a rich mix of heavy industry to arts and service sector agencies. The overall aim of the student project is to identify a new long term use for the site taking into consideration potential changes to the area brought about by the HS2 development and taking into account the Birmingham Big City Plan.

The day started with a series of presentations about the developments taking place in Birmingham and continued with the walk through Warwick Bar. Photos by George Blumberg (thanks George)...





Then back to Oxford Brookes to start work on the development projects. Students from the following courses attended the field trip - to find out more about any of the courses, click on the course:

BSc Construction Project Management
BSc Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management
BSc Real Estate Management
BA Urban Design, Planning and Development


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Spring 2017 Field Trips: Residential Real Estate in Exeter and London

The students on the MSc Real Estate went on a couple of field trips recently that had a residential flavour. Read on and click on the red links for more information.

Presentations on the Cranbrook development (photos by Harry Silcock)

In March, the students went on a field trip to the Cranbrook development that is taking shape near Exeter. Cranbrook is a new town being developed in East Devon, initially consisting of 2,900 residential properties, built to the highest code for sustainable homes with the aim of becoming a trailblazer for low carbon mass open market housing developments. The visit focused on the sustainable aspects of the development as well as the task of building a community from scratch and included presentations and discussions from the Chief Executive and Growth Director at Exeter City (Karime Hassan) and the Project Manager for Cranbrook (Mike Owen). After lunch the students were take on a tour of the Energy Centre and of the public areas within the development. Find out what the residents think of their community in the fourth annual community poll of residents.

On the second field trip (in April) the students went to London to explore East Village, the residential development based in the Athlete's Village at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and to see the redevelopment of Covent Garden.

First stop was East Village and the HQ of Get Living London to find out more about the way they (Get Living London) are developing and managing the properties (1400 rental properties). The students listened to an excellent presentation from Emily Alexander from Get Living London before taking a guided tour of the (vast) site and one of the rental properties. And now for some photos (by the Ed unless otherwise mentioned)...

The view from the flat we visited (photo by Harriet Cowcher)

At Get Living London HQ (spot the bird boxes)
Mace are constructing the first building of the second phase of East Village under cover to
minimise disturbance to existing residents

On tour. East Village is huge (and still expanding).

Inside one of the flats (10 floors up)

Shops, parks and Westfield (where we had lunch)

After lunch (and finding the coach) the students set out on a slow road trip across London to Covent Garden. On arrival at the offices of Capco the students listened to a presentation from Andrew Hicks (Estate Director for Covent Garden) on the development and vision for the area and asked lots of questions. Andrew and his team (which included an alumni from the BSc REM at Oxford Brookes) then took the students on a guided tour of Covent Garden...photos follow:

Presentation from Andrew Hicks (Capco) and the model of Covent Garden

The MSc students reflected in Reflect London the art installation which wraps 32,000 square feet of mirrors around the eastern fa├žade of the market building to hide the restoration work taking place. 

On tour...

...around Covent Garden with Andrew Hicks from Capco

The street entertainers are still a big feature of Covent Garden

Now that you've reached the end, you might want more information on the MSc Real Estate at Oxford Brookes. Find it on the blog or on our website.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The launch of the OBREMS/OBU Real Estate Mentoring Scheme 2017 took place on 22 March at the offices of Cushman & Wakefield in Portman Square, London and brought together mentors and mentees for the first time. The Mentoring Scheme is managed jointly by OBREMS (which, by the way, is our alumni association) and the School of the Built Environment and is open to second year students on the BSc Real Estate Management and the BA Planning and Property Development who do not have an existing network of contacts within the property sector.

Harri John (centre) talking about her experiences of mentoring

Gina Dalton from the School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes introduced the Real Estate Mentoring Scheme and then passed over to Harri John, Graduate Surveyor at Cushman & Wakefield (and one of our alumni from the BSc Real Estate Management), who welcomed everyone to the event and to Cushman & Wakefield. Harri also reflected on her time at Oxford Brookes (she graduated in 2016), where she took part in the mentoring scheme in 2015 (she was mentored by Simon Friend)...so she was also able to offer some words of advice to the mentees. And then Gina introduced the following speakers:

Jason Antill, Director at Pure Real Estate Services and the new President of OBREMS, gave a brief presentation on the work of OBREMS and also on his experience as a mentor.

Deborah Joynt who works on the corporate valuation side of the healthcare team at Knight Frank LLP and has been involved with the mentoring scheme from the first year (2013). She talked about her experiences as a mentor, how students could get the most out of the scheme (and their mentor) and how the mentoring relationship works both ways.

Ian Norris talking about what it's like to be a mentor

Ian Norris is Owner/Director of Jones Norris Adams Chartered Surveyors and was persuaded to get involved with the mentoring scheme in 2016. He talked about how he was glad that he was persuaded (to get involved) and his experiences within the real estate sector, including setting up his own company.

Grace Burke giving advice to the new mentees

Grace Burke is a Graduate Surveyor at Levy Real Estate LLP (graduated from BSc Real Estate Management in 2016) and was mentored by Liz Iles. Grace talked about how much she had benefited from the scheme and her approach. Both Grace and Harri are still in touch with their mentors.

One of the unique features of our Real Estate Mentoring Scheme is that all of our mentors are graduates of either the BSc or MSc Real Estate at Oxford Brookes (or Oxford Polytechnic as it used to be) which means that the launch evening is also a great networking event and that mentors and students (or 'mentees') have an immediate connection. The energy and buzz that filled the room at the launch event is reflected in some of the photos...















First meeting with the mentors
The networking continued late into the night...

Want to get involved? Take a look at the OBREMS/OBU Real Estate Mentoring Scheme website. More photos are available on our Facebook album.





Wednesday, 1 March 2017

MSc Real Estate: Bicester Village 2017

On Wednesday 8 February (2017) the MSc Real Estate students went on the annual field trip to the international shopping destination that is Bicester Village. Bicester Village is one of a number of Chic Outlet Shopping® Villages that are operated and owned by Value Retail. There are now nine 'villages' in Europe and two in China and each is defined by its luxury brands and open-air ‘village’ setting.

The purpose of trip is to highlight the link between business, marketing, branding and real estate. There were presentations from the original developer (Chris Harris, Director of Value Retail) and the current marketing team (Miranda Markham, Community Relations Director for Value Retail). The students go there every year (read about the 2016 visit here) ...so what's new for 2017? Click on the red links for more information.

Presentation from Chris Harris (left) and Miranda Markham (photo by Ragini Venu)

Phase 4 of the development has now been approved (in September 2016) and will include a further expansion of the development, the relocation of the existing Tesco store and traffic management plans. Bicester Village remains a major tourist destination in the UK (for certain groups of tourists) and the development of the Bicester Village rail station reflects this - offering a direct route from central London as well as luxury surroundings, although the naming of the new station was not without controversy.

In 2016, I remember Miranda Markham talked about the marketing strategies for Bicester Village and the customer (or guest) statistics behind it. She explained the importance of social media and how it was being used to promote Bicester Village...I did a little investigation to see what their social media presence is like. Here's what I found (you can draw your own conclusions):

Instagram - 45.1k followers, average 1 or 2 posts a day (mainly product/event images)
Facebook - 196k likes (followers), average 1 or 2 posts a day (often shared with other channels, but including videos)
Twitter - 34.1k followers, average 4 posts a day, highlighting events and offers
Pinterest - interestingly only 199 followers...could this be a recent venture, or just not such a good social media platform for Bicester Village?
YouTube - about 100-500 views per video, mainly designer interviews/events
Weibo - (the Chinese microblogging site which is similar to Twitter) has 42k followers

And what about Bicester itself? Well, a few years ago it was designated the location of the UK's first eco town (development already underway) and more recently, it was chosen as a new garden city with a plan to build 13,000 new homes on the edge of the town. Not everybody was pleased about this.

Walking into Bicester Village (photo by Ragini Venu)

Following the formal sessions, the students walked from the John Paul II Centre through Bicester town centre and entered Bicester Village through the new railway station. They had time to indulge in some serious retail therapy and experience the development from a consumers' point of view. Although Nick French rather hoped that, as budding property experts, they were thinking about tenant mix, pedestrian flows, demographics and the efficient use of space as they enjoyed their shopping experience. And finally, each year the students enjoy a wonderful breakfast :)

Breakfast - by Ragini Venu

More information on the MSc Real Estate here.



Tuesday, 28 February 2017

BSc Real Estate Management: the Bristol Field Trip

This year (on 6 February 2017), the third year students on the BSc Real Estate Management headed off to Bristol for the annual PPT (Professional Practice Test) residential visit. The visit provides the students with an opportunity to study a local property market (in a location away from the south-east) and to apply all aspects of the real estate management subject disciplines to locally based case study problem solving.

And so to Bristol...Bristol is a city straddling the River Avon in the southwest of England with a prosperous maritime history. Amongst (many) other things, Bristol is home to the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge and (was home) to its equally famous engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It is also home to two rival football teams (as many big cities are), a great harbourside and some rather famous street art (and Banksy). It is also a very beautiful and thriving city. Well worth a visit. Take a look a the red links to find out a bit more.


A Banksy original. On a wall in Bristol.


This is what the students got up to in Bristol (photos by Mike Patrick)...


At Cribbs Causeway with PJ (Paul Jenkins)

On the first day, the students started with a visit to The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, a shopping centre managed by Intu. They had a tour and a presentation on the development from Greg Wilson, Asset Manager at Intu. After lunch the students visited Lakeshore, a residential development by Urban Splash and listened to a presentation from David Caird of Ferguson Mann Architects, specialists in conservation/regeneration projects.

The students at Lakeshore and the Lakeshore video (below)...



Back at the hotel, the day finished with a presentation about the retail market in Bristol, by Nick Allen, Investment Partner at Cushman & Wakefield, the coursework briefing and a group meal. Tuesday 7 February started with a talk on the office market in Bristol, given by Hannah Waterhouse (Associate Director), Lydia Riches (Graduate Surveyor and an Oxford Brookes BSc REM alumni) and Ross Wigley (Graduate Surveyor), all from JLL. The day continued with a tour of the commercial areas of the city which included...

...a boat tour of the city, hosted by JLL.

The presentation from JLL (Lydia Riches is presenting)

The rest of the day and the next day (Wednesday 8 February) were spent working in groups, researching sites and preparing project presentations for the  PPT vivas which were held on the final day. Then back to Oxford.

Interested? More information about the BSc Real Estate Management here.



Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Five years of blogging...

One of the first photos to appear on the blog...the Oxford Brookes Real Estate Rugby Team, taken shortly before the 2011 charity match against the University of Reading. We won (36-15) and the event raised over £5000 for charity.

Five years ago we had an idea. And that's how the blogs started...to tell the story of the Department (of Real Estate and Construction). In the end we started two: Hot Property (telling the story of real estate) and Not Just Hard Hats (telling the story of construction). Five years later and now part of the School of the Built Environment, we have a third blog: Planning and Urban Design. Along the way we have told our story and created a history for ourselves. And now the blogs are 5 years old. Thanks to all the people who have helped write stuff, taken photos and supported our work. Here are some of the highlights of the last five years (click on the red or blue links for more information)...

Number of posts: 278
Number of hits (visits): 107, 972 from all over the world

Top three posts on Hot Property:
Regeneration might still come to Morecambe
MSc Real Estate Prize 2012-13: Natasha Sidoli
MSc Real Estate: Lisbon 2016 in numbers...

Top three posts on Not Just Hard Hats:
The Construction Industry: a suitable place for women?
MSc BIMM: Q&A with Henry Abanda
MSc QS and Commercial Management: Q&A with Damilola Ekundayo

Number of field trips: 88 field trips have been documented on the blogs - take a look at the field trip tag on the blogs to find out more.

Number of new courses introduced: 5 (plus our Real Estate Mentoring Scheme)...
MSc Real Estate Investment Finance
MSc Construction Project Management
MSc Building Information Modelling and Management
MSc Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management
MSc Real Estate with 3 pathways: Commercial/Residential, International, Hotel & Hospitality
BSc Real Estate Management Mentoring Scheme

Number of students interviewed: 12...take a look at the student profiles tag on the blogs to find out more about our students and what they think of us.

Number of building moves: 1...it was quite a dramatic move as our old building was demolished to make way for a new flagship building for Oxford Brookes...the John Henry Brookes Building. We documented our favourite parts of the Darcy Building before it was demolished.

Our alumni: many of our students choose to stay in touch with us after they graduate (and become alumni). We have 3 alumni groups on LinkedIn and we also make use of our alumni as guest speakers, mentors and course advisers. Take a look at the alumni tags on the blogs...there are some alumni profiles there too. Those LinkedIn groups:
Construction, QS and Project Management
Real Estate Management
Real Estate Investment Finance

Lots of social events: Real Estate and Construction. 

And my favourite photos...

One of the many snowball fights on the 2013 field trip to The Netherlands

The MSc Project Management in the Built Environment Study Week in March 2012...brick laying workshop

Students showcasing their work at the Industrial Placements Workshop in 2014

The amazing (and unique) Crossrail development field trip

The MSc Real Estate field trip to Barcelona in 2015

The second year BSc Real Estate Management students drawing up a Schedule of Dilapidations in Wantage

The 2016 Oxford Tour. Showing our new students our beautiful city.

Houses marked for demolition in Morro da Providencia. Photo taken as part of the UK-Brazil Urban Network.
Look at the research tags on the blogs for news of other research projects taking place.

The 2016 Real Estate Ball


And finally a video. We try and inspire the students of the future by taking part in the Oxford Brookes Creative Industries Day. The bridge building exercise from 2016...







Friday, 25 November 2016

MSc Real Estate: Birmingham 2016

MSc Real Estate 2016-17

During the second week of November, the students on the MSc Real Estate went on a field trip to one of the contenders for the title of England's second city: Birmingham (although not everyone in Manchester would agree). The field trip is designed to introduce the postgraduate students to issues of sustainable use and development in the context of specific commercial and residential property markets and to:
  • develop an understanding of sustainable use and development
  • examine the use, investment and development of commercial property
  • set commercial property in a wider economic, social, political and legal context

Birmingham has traditionally been regarded as England’s second city, but has long been thought of as a less-than-glamorous destination. The major development plan for Birmingham was launched in 2010 and lays out a 20-year vision known as The Big City Plan. Regular updates on regeneration projects appear in the Birmingham Post (a great site). Birmingham is changing and has a lot more to offer than previously thought. Interestingly, the Guardian has just produced the 'Alt City Guide to Birmingham'. Click on the red links for more information. Photos by Ibrahim Naseer and David Shiers.

The itinerary (not including extra-curricular activities)...

Monday 7 November
After arriving in Birmingham, the students attended a presentation on the Paradise Project by Theo Holmes (CBRE) and Ross Fittall and Sunil Johal (Project Directors, Argent). And then met for a group meal in the evening.


Listening to the presentation about the Paradise Project

The model and...

...the real thing.

The Library of Birmingham...located next to the Paradise Project area.

Tuesday 8 November 
Breakfast, and then a walk to Bilfinger GVA in Brindleyplace for a series of presentations:

  • Retail – Gary Bucknall
  • Ratings – Rob Smith
  • Q&A Session with Bilfinger GVA
  • Offices – George Jenning

Next was a walking tour of Mailbox and Grand Central shopping centres, finishing at the Bullring. The students moved onto Fort Dunlop (developed by Urban Splash) in the afternoon for a tour and a measurement exercise.


On the way to Brindleyplace...

...for a presentation from Bilfinger GVA.

The shopping centre tour - inside Mailbox.

On the way up to...

...Grand Central.

And finally the iconic Selfridges store at Bullring.

In the afternoon, on the top of Fort Dunlop. Which looks like a film set.

And the view.


Wednesday 9 November 
A walk to Savills (Innovation Court) for a guided walking tour of Southside, Digbeth (the creative quarter) and Moor Street with Siobhan McCrystal and Sarah Gregory from Savills. The students then took a bus to the Jewellery Quarter to look at a number of sites. This was followed by an overview presentation by Savills and lunch. Then, back to Oxford.

On the walking tour...Southside.

Digbeth.

And Digbeth (the field trip mascot) in Digbeth with David Shiers and Nick French.

For more information about the MSc Real Estate, take a look at the website or the other posts on this blog.