It would seem that commercial development is on the boom in the UK with Deloitte’s Crane Survey reporting last year that office construction is at a seven year high in central London, with over 11 million square feet of Grade A office space due for completion in the next two years. Their latest insight in January 2016 confirms that Leeds and Birmingham are also displaying similar confidence and momentum. The same could be said for Gibraltar with the latest and largest property developments under construction boasting a combined 27,000 m2 of premium office.
Another trend being successfully replicated is that of incorporating premium corporate space within mixed use developments. Although currently en vogue these developments are predominantly successful because they incorporate the same key elements of walkable proximity that have held together vibrant urban communities for centuries. Midtown is a prime example of such a development here in Gibraltar.
The reasoning behind the seemingly stateside theme to the project that spans 4.3 acres in the heart of Gibraltar is quite interesting, as a spokesperson for Midtown explains “The name Midtown evolved quite naturally due to it’s central location when redevelopment of this site was first mooted a number of years back, and of course there follows a logical association to the original Midtown in the U.S”
Perhaps not surprisingly, midtown Manhattan also happens to be Americas greatest commercial, entertainment and media district and houses the country’s largest business community. “In giving Midtown (Gibraltar) a full identity, we wanted to move away from the usual well- worn military and marine references, and reflect on something of where we are now and our next evolution as a country and a community.
The New England towns that the various areas of the development are named after, not only make for great sounding addresses, but also hold a deeper meaning. There is a strong synergy between the early founding fathers and the people of Gibraltar at this point in time. The pilgrims were bold, entrepreneurial individuals that sought freedom and independence and we too are a frontier community with a people determined to forge their own destiny and secure freedom of choice”
As artist’s impressions and plans of the project circulate, it is clear to see that Midtown has been skilfully designed to provide a contemporary and sustainable hub of residential, commercial and corporate buildings with a strong emphasis on providing green spaces for comfortable living and the whole community. Recent studies by the University of Exeter show that living near parks and gardens in cities or towns actually boosts mental well-being and that these positive benefits are significantly long lasting. Midtown’s spokesperson expanded on this ‘green focus’ as being one of the key objectives in the process; “When space is at a premium in a place such as Gibraltar, developers can be tempted to try to maximise every scrap of financial potential and as a result they inevitably sacrifice some of the things that deliver quality of life. With Midtown, a great deal of care and generosity has been shown in the design of each apartment, balcony, terrace, lobby & courtyard as well as the gardens and park, all with the objective of creating a really desirable place to live and work long term. Equally, the areas that are to be used for corporate offices and commercial outlets have had the same amount of forward vision applied in terms of creating productive working spaces, high specification finishes and increasingly important state of the art security features. Once complete, the development will be an asset to Gibraltar for many generations to come.”