17 June 2020

Stuart Harris cites ‘people, planet and profitability’ as the key to developing sustainable mixed-use assets

Milligan’s COO, Stuart Harris joined the Built Environment Network for a live webinar a few weeks ago to discuss mixed-use developments, some of the expected impacts of Covid-19 on their future development and the Milligan approach.

Having worked on and delivered a number of leisure regeneration projects across the UK, Stuart explained that moving through the next crucial and challenging chapter of real-estate development was going to require “experience, collaboration and innovation”.

Stuart quoted the model coined by John Elkington, nearly 25 years ago which balances the needs of the People, the Planet and profitability. Stuart said: “We need to assess the full impact our organisations and developments have on both the people we work with, and the local community in which we are working. Equally, the impact on the planet has to be at the forefront of our plans. Building responsibly and sustainably does not have to be at the expense of profit.

“Finally, profit should be defined by the positive and negative impact we have on the local economy in which we are developing. This includes creating employment, generating innovation, wealth creation and any other economic impact we might have.”

Stuart went on to explain that the Milligan approach centres around assessing the sustainable growth potential, from politics to the financial health of the local authority in order to understand what current and future demand and values could look like across a range of sectors.

Successful mixed-use development is about realising how the underlying site is attractive for a range of uses. There is no longer a cookie-cutter solution and the clone mall or town centre is a thing of the past.

Stuart continued: “It will be some time before we know the full effects of Covid-19, but the current crisis will accelerate the failure of some retail. Leisure and hospitality will be the last to recover, but the desire to go out, socialise and find experiences will continue to grow.”

“Research and understanding of the market of any area has never been more important and ultimately we need a shared vision of success which will marry innovative funding with long-term income streams to create sustainable investment platforms.”

Stuart was joined on the panel by James Burchell of Tellon Capital and the panel was hosted by Phil and Alison from BEN.

Click here to get in touch with Stuart.