It seems everyone has a prediction about the post-Covid world but one has started coming true very quickly in our region.

Earlier this year we spoke to our partner T A Fisher about its plans for a property hub where industry start-ups and consultants can work close to one another.

The likely demand for such space, T A Fisher suggested, was that, as a result of the pandemic, a number of professionals may go their own way, often with the blessing of their former employer.

And already we are seeing that trend happening on our doorstep. Nick Coote, formerly head of the Reading office of Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH), has launched CRE Advisors, former Morse Webb director, Ian Blake, has launched iB Architects and these come shortly after the launch of Hatch RE, created in January by former LSH duo Tom Fletcher and Philip Hunter.

Many predict working from home will continue in some form but that is largely on the basis of employers shedding surplus space to reduce rent.

However, while two of the examples above are home-based businesses, Hatch RE has space in Thames Tower, so the trend remains difficult to predict. Certainly the death of the office is far from a done deal.

But the form guide suggests Mr Coote’s prediction for this region could be worth listening to. Our paths have crossed in the property world over many years including a hectic period for development in the 1990s and early 2000s.

In that era, those of us watching the changing face of Reading with great excitement, were looking forward to the massive towers planned in the original Station Hill scheme. But Mr Coote was sounding a note of caution.

He suggested the rents required to enable the expensive tall towers would be difficult to achieve in Reading at that time. History would now seem to back that.

Another scheme at that time was Reading Borough Council’s plan to raft over the inner distribution road (IDR) and create new space including parks.

Mr Coote said the required engineering task was such that he could not see the plan, in the form it was then, coming to fruition. Again, history would seem to support that.

Now he suggests many people will not fancy commuting to and around London as much they once did and the Thames Valley could benefit as a result.

Although it is hard to see ahead right now, you can’t help thinking that that could be quite a good bet.

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