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Monday, March 11, 2013

The Dangers Of Buying A Dream

Clarence Dock in Leeds was destined to be one of those transformational urban regeneration scheme that get developers, councils and investors ultimately chomping on the bit to part with their cash.  However, time and time again it can all go wrong.

Just a brief look on Nestoria shows that currently there are 100 apartments for rent in the area.  Great for tenants looking to drive down rents and getting a good deal.  Not so good for landlords trying to bag a tenant amongst all the competition.  What went wrong?

Clarance Dock is by no means unique.  An isolated block of land near the City centre (so it must be desirable!)  It was going to be a mixed use scheme with shops, bars even a casino all based around water.  If I had a pound for every time I heard this vision I'd be a rich man.  The problem is that wholesale regeneration with identikit apartments very rarely generates the kind of organic communities that most of us choose to live in.  Great blocks of rabbit hutch apartments with no local shops and a massive casino is hardly a place full of local services.  These place less, soulless developments are all about the dream, fueled on optimism and easy money for developers and investors.  How many of the former and latter were burned in the process?

Don't chase somebody else's dream
My advice to landlords.  Is don't chase somebody else's dream.  Buy, what is real, tangible, quantifiable and probably quite boring.  That way you won't be left with a pot of fools gold at the end of the rainbow!

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