Big things are happening in Reading town centre and not all of them are visible.
One Station Hill is emerging and will become an unmissable landmark just two years from now. By then, Lincoln MGT will have made tweaks and changes to its plans for the next phase.
But quietly, AEW is buying up large sites in the town centre and, it would seem, has plans to make better use of them. If its plan to buy the Broad Street Mall is concluded, the investor will surely have a key involvement in the Minster Quarter regeneration.
And a more subtle change emerged last week when Thames Tap, just before our event at the Dog House, held a round table meeting we will report on in the next few days.
There was discussion about the huge numbers of Build-to-Rent flats coming to the town centre – up to 4,500. Delegates heard the new generation occupying them don’t plan to own a property or a car.
“There’s a whole generation out there that don’t own anything, they just lease it,” delegates were told.
Those growing up in an era when the aspiration was home ownership, might find the idea of renting everything a difficult one to grasp.
But, if the trend continues, it might mean a very different approach to development in future.
It’s very hard to predict but there is a likely trend that is easier to foresee. The young couples renting their town centre flats may want children and therefore gardens and the traditional family homes Reading is short of, will be in even more demand.
Pressure on the Green Belt is surely only going to increase. But that may not be a bad thing.
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