British Land Testing Proptech And Smart Tech At Its HQ
There are many internal uses for proptech in CRE — most of them focused on ways to make the planning and development process easier — but according to British Land head of office leasing Michael Wiseman, the real benefit of proptech is that it allows developers to create innovative and productive environments for occupiers.
Companies are increasingly relying on apps, sensors and wearables to provide services to occupiers to better the entire work environment, an essential for attracting talent. Knowing happy employees stay longer, companies are constantly seeking ways to deliver benefits to their performers. Agility delivered by proptech fits that bill.
British Land uses its own headquarters, York House, as a laboratory to experiment with smart objects and enhancements, Wiseman said.
The company’s office development at 100 Liverpool St. is being built “smart from the start,” Wiseman said. British Land is using virtual reality to experience its building before it is actually erect. “It isn’t at a marketing level yet, but it is very cool," Wiseman said.
Wiseman described the enormous reception area as a social hub, and said it is possible with VR to go up the floor plates and see how occupiers will experience the building. Using the technology influences the design. “It is fascinating to immerse yourself in emerging design,” Wiseman said.
The building will be delivered in 2019. One of the biggest challenges as a developer is making decisions now that will impact the future, Wiseman said. By creating a digitally managed platform, occupiers can plug and play whatever technologies and tools they want to use.
Wiseman said British Land approaches all of its projects as a campus, meaning it owns the building and the land around it. The benefits of that include having WiFi when you leave the building and a curated public realm.
British Land’s Paddington Central complex at 4 Kingdom St. strives to be more than just an office where people work. It is a 150K SF office with flexible floor plates, glass pods designed as private meeting spaces and large corner terraces on each floor. There is also a communal rooftop terrace to relax, think and play. The scheme will deliver next month.
Farther along the timeline — around 10 years from now — Canada Water will be a scheme that dazzles. The 46-acre, 7M SF mixed-use development will be the largest in South London in decades, and will include educational facilities, thousands of homes, entertainment, health and cultural centres, retail and of prime offices. “We are taking everything we know and applying that knowledge to Canada Water,” Wiseman said.
Join Michael Wiseman on March 30 at the magnificent 1 Angel Court in Islington for Bisnow’s Future of Proptech event, where he will discuss British Land's projects and how the company is staying ahead with proptech.
CORRECTION, MARCH 23, 11:00 A.M. ET: An earlier version of this story stated that Canada Water will include 7M SF of office. The entire mixed-use project is 7M SF, including an office portion. The story has been updated.