BMW’s Real Estate Venture
According to Joe Quirke writing in Global Construction Review, BMW has its sights set on real estate development. With work due to start on site imminently, their first project will be mini-apartments in a mixed-use “urban hotspot” located in a former paint factory in the Jing’an District of central Shanghai.
Working with Chinese project developer Nova Property Investment, the first project is a “multi-layered co-living initiative made up of apartments, working spaces and cultural offerings”. Those living there will be “singles, sharers and families on short, medium-term and extended tenancies”. The project aims to promote social interaction with communal spaces such as lobbies, exhibition areas and a food market, which will be open to the public. It will also contain rentable workspaces.
Temporary Living Forest R&D Forerunners
This six-building development, which will be installed in the factory’s retained façade, will be the Munich company’s first permanent project. However, BMW’s Mini Living project was launched in 2016, previously partnering with architect Asif Khan on a series of temporary “living forests” in east London, and it has completed similar projects in New York and Milan.
Using Space ‘Intelligently’
Peter Schwarzenbauer, a member of BMW’s management board, explains that “At Mini we are also well versed in the intelligent use of space; back in 1959 the classic Mini was already maximising the experience available within a very small footprint.
“Mini Living brings this know-how from the vehicles we drive into the places where we live. We are rethinking the idea of living space in the city and developing attractive, need-oriented living concepts.”
Alternative Rental Target
Esther Bahne, head of Mini Brand Strategy and Business Innovation, said:
“We’re looking to create a genuine alternative within the rental market of big cities. We’re offering a place that can adapt to its residents, is flexible and allows room to breathe. Mini Living gives residents privacy, but also enables them to engage with a variety of people.”
Images courtesy of Mini Living
Micro Space Heritage
As noted in several earlier Weekly Insights there is global shift to smaller and smaller living spaces, many based on the premise of ‘individuation’ and satisfying the need for independent living. Whether the result of failed planning or economic policies, the prospect of creating a ‘micro space’ heritage in cities, of not elsewhere, is becoming an increasing prospect.
Empty Shells for “CUSTOM Self-Builds”
Meanwhile, almost at the other end of the spectrum – if not on a different planet – the demand is growing for larger homes. Our ‘Benfield CUSTOM Homes’ division, which works with architects & developers to take over the burden of dealing with the latest government planning requirement for ‘Custom Self-Build’ homes on every development, is showing that people want to maximise their use of ‘footprint’s set by Design Codes and Plot Passports. Offerings from residential developers are seen as providing too little space with tiny rooms and little if any storage.
Your Partner in Development
Whether or not you are facing Custom Build plot demands, working with our teams to provide better value, more readily marketable homes could benefit Architects and Builders alike. Our specialist services deliver best value and protect the interests of land owners, house-builder developers, professionals and private individuals seeking to build their dream home. Our off-site construction systems reduce the amount of material that gets wasted on site, helping to avoid land fill, hazardous waste separation and handling, and delivers better value for you and your customers.
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