Funds need to get smart: Why the future is in residential, not retail, assets

Austrian-born architect Victor Gruen is widely recognised as the father of the modern shopping centre, designing the first purpose-built outside shopping mall called Northland Mall near Detroit in 1954.

The post-war economic boom allied to the rapid rise in consumerism saw shopping centres become a global phenomenon. Such was the success of the Austrian-designed, American-born shopping centre that it is said that while Gruen tried to make America more like his hometown of Vienna, he ended up making Vienna more like America.

But, times have changed. Over the last decade or so, physical bricks and mortar retail in the UK has become distressed, with online shopping certainly playing its part. High street name after high street name has fallen into administration over that time as shoppers swapped the queues for shopping on their smartphones …

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