Reading Real Estate Network (RREN) resumed on Friday (May 6), for the first time post-lockdown, with a look at how ESG is driving occupier demand at Station Hill.

Around 100 people gathered at Thames Tower to hear from Mark Wilkinson, director at engineering consultancy Hoare Lea and Alex Aitchison, director of development for Lincoln Property Company.

Delegates heard how potential office occupiers are now asking about sustainability, wellness and environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials at the outset of talks.

Mr Wilkinson said: “What we find in the industry today and going forward, is that everything is focused on planet and people. That’s what guides us now.

“ESG is probably the first discussion that I have with every client. No-one cares about the pipes and wires. What they want to know is about is sustainability.

“How are they going to do more? How are they going to showcase that they are doing more? How are they going to demonstrate they are doing something good for everyone around them?”

Mr Aitchison told guests the shift in occupier mindset means Mr Wilkinson is brought into the early tenant meetings.

He added: “We now bring the professional team into those early discussions.”

He said his vision for Station Hill is as ‘a mini King’s Cross for the regions’ with its two acres of public realm. The current office and residential buildings are due for completion at the end of next year and detailed proposals for phase three of the scheme are due to be ready by the end of this year.

RREN, which holds quarterly networking events, run jointly by Field Seymour Parkes, Barton Willmore, Hatch RE and Secure Trust Bank, will hold its next meeting at the Here + Now development at Thames Valley Park.

Image (l-r): Tom Fletcher from Hatch RE, Kim Cohen from Barton Willmore (now Stantec), Chris Daly from Secure Trust Bank and Marcus Francis from Field Seymour Parkes, representing the four co-hosts/sponsors of the Reading Real Estate Network.

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