Travelling in a post COVID world is eye opening. What makes a liveable city, with new working and lifestyle patterns, heightened priority of health and wellbeing, and an increased cost of living? If the last twelve months spent in Sydney and traveling across Asia-Pacific has taught me anything, it’s the sheer scale of possibility in the built environment to support a post pandemic society.
The level of ambition and investment taking place across the pan pacific markets, in the living sector, green infrastructure and cultural assets, is driving a new wave of capital deployment that puts people and place first, parallels here for London.
What excites me most about taking up the helm of Opportunity London is leading a united voice for our great Capital city with our growing cohort of Team London partners. We will create and showcase a pipeline of global investment opportunities that will contribute towards a low carbon, equitable and liveable city – shared aims for us all.
That’s not to challenge the resilience of London. Like a lot of European cities, historic urban planning in London can accommodate more integrated lifestyles, having long included miles of green open spaces and mixed-use neighbourhoods. The lack of the latter being the reason we are seeing many US cities suffer from increased office vacancies that leave city centres empty. Even in our most concentrated business district, the changing face of the City was well underway before 2020.
Our established industries such as financial and professional services along with growth sectors in technology and science makes London a global leader for talent and innovation, and our universities are some of the best in the world. We are already, according to a recent report from JLL, the greenest capital city in Europe*. However, with a forward shared vision we can always strive to be even greener, truly innovative and build better for all our communities.
These fundamentals, together with high levels of liquidity, continuously make London one of the most sought-after destinations for global capital. Last year (2022) the UK was the second most traded global real estate market with transaction volumes exceeding £67 billion, with more than £20 billion in cross border investment into London alone. Our priority at Opportunity London is directing this appetite to invest towards the areas of our city that need it most across real estate, regeneration, infrastructure, and energy.
Inward investment has transformed our city over the last two decades, from a new Elizabeth Line; Old Oak to the Olympic Park; King’s Cross to the City Cluster; Canary Wharf to Wembley Park; Battersea Power Station to Barking Riverside. The list goes on, and so do the opportunities for further investment.
In energy we need new green infrastructure, EV charging and a huge retrofitting agenda to bring buildings up to modern standards of environmental performance. In real estate there are opportunities across the mix, from housing to life sciences, logistics to film and media production. And we must continue to develop the city’s transport infrastructure, digital communications, and waste management.
Opportunity London will set out to guide global capital in a unique partnership that brings civic and business leaders together to showcase where investment opportunities exist, across London.
So, let’s unashamedly beat the drum, fly that flag and demonstrate why London is THE best place in the world to invest, to imagine a new, evolved and low carbon London that is truly a prosperous City for all, and for good.