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The 15-Minute City concept gains tracking.

The 15-Minute City Concept Gains Traction

The-15-Minute City concept is gaining traction around the world as a placemaking tactic and means to enhance quality of life.   Although “city” is used in this coined term, this planning concept is more about a focus on livable neighborhoods and districts.

 

The “15-minute city” is a term for urban design and master planning wherein it is possible to meet the basic “needs of living” within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from a person’s home.  The needs of living include such services and amenities as:

 

  • Places of work, or, at least a coworking venue;
  • Grocers;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Schools for children, youth;
  • Health care or medical facilities, or simply, doctor and dentist offices;
  • Recreation, leisure and/or green spaces; at least a pocket or linear park;
  • Cultural venues;
  • Mass transit accessibility;
  • Affordable housing is assumed;
  • Flexible zoning to allow places with different day-part uses, such as local school facility that can be a community gathering place at night or on weekends; and
  • Places of worship are seldom mentioned as part of the 15-Minute City concept, but such places may be among the most successful community-building forces that have existed.

 

 

The planning term was first coined by by Prof. Carlos Moreno, a professor at Sorbonne University (Paris, France).  Prof. Moreno is the director of entrepreneurship and innovation at The Sorbonne.  Though popularized by the professor, the 15-Minute City concept itself  has been explored in major cities throughout the world from Melbourne to Portland, prior to its burgeoning popularity as an planning concept.

 

During 2020, the 15-Minute City concept has surged in interest as a sturdy planning concept alongside the increasing acceptance of coworking facilities and communities.   Coworking venues situated in close proximity to homes simply adds an additional destination within a 15-minute “neighborhood” that is vital within a 15-minute radii.

 

The 15-Minute City concept is a multi-faceted placemaking tactic.

Another aspect of making the 15-Minute City concept workable is the presence of affordable housing within each 15-Minute City cluster.  Many neighborhoods and districts around the world may work well for most required services and work places, but do not have the array of housing choices necessary.

 

Integrating the 15-Minute City concept with allied planning concepts is particularly interesting to local governments charged with numerous quality of life objectives and economic development initiatives.   A 15-Minute City imperative, as an example, is also deemed helpful in reducing the use of fossil fuels (vehicles), fighting carbon emissions, and thereby fighting climate change.  Also, applying the 15-Minute City thresholds of accessibility also advances the objectives for some groups in reversing local zoning codes to allow increased affordable housing options and thereby, more diversity, inclusion, and social justice.

 

The 15-Minute City concept has created such interest that purpose-built apps have been created to evaluate any particular location for 15-Minute City thresholds. Here Technologies (Eindhoven, Netherlands) is one such company that has created this kind of threshold’s map to answer the question – Do You Live in a 15-Minute City? We expect that the 15-Minute City parameters and software applications that track such notions, will join similar concepts as a niche investment asset class among those pursuing environmental, social, and governmental investments (so-called ESG Investing).

hotel project feasibility consultants

Hotel Project Feasibility Consultants

Our work as hotel project feasibility consultants starts with market analysis and the feasibility of new development, the acquisition and disposition of properties, and a role as owner representative and asset manager on behalf of owner.

 

Of course, as the hotel industry manages through the difficult circumstances wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the focus of much of our consulting work has necessarily changed. Operating occupancies in the U.S. remain at or about 40% (less in many international regions) and travelers have changing preferences for their accomodations.

 

As a real estate investment asset class, branded hotels and resorts are now in a period of focused reexamination.

 

Many hotel branded products that have depended upon corporate meetings and travel, are currently obsolescent from an economic standpoint, while other lodging products are proving almost pandemic-proof.  As one of the significant real estate investment asset classes, branded hotels and resorts are now in a period of focused reexamination.

 

Some examples of our recent work as hotel project feasibility consultants, include:

 

 

 

  • Feasibility, business planning, and conceptual design for new glamping and eco-resort products, recreational vehicle (RV) parks and campgrounds, as well as major recreation adventure resorts;

 

 

  • More traditional consulting support, such as project feasibility studies for new development, and due diligence for client acquisitions – whether single properties or portfolios.

 

 

Our firm’s essential value to clients is our hands-on experience in designing, developing, and operating projects and businesses. StoneCreek Partners is led by co-founder Donald Bredberg and his substantial experience as an executive with The Irvine Company, NBCUniversal, and the Riyadh-based family office of Newfield Enterprises International.

 

Glamping accommodations conceptual design - Adventure Entertainment Cos.

Glamping and eco-resort accomodations are likely to do well in coming years, as travelers adapt to a world of social distancing and health concerns.

 

The firm was first established in 1984 in Los Angeles, and is now headquartered in Nevada. Our work as hotel project feasibility consultants got started shortly after the firm’s founding.  In those early days, as part of managing a portfolio of luxury hotels for a Saudi family office, our firm’s co-founder Donald Bredberg was one of the initial founder members of the Hotel Asset Manager’s Association.

 

Additional information about our hotel and resort consulting practice, is available at the link below:

 

StoneCreek Partners – Hotel, Resort, and Accommodations Consulting Practice

Comparing the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines

Comparing the Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines

We found this interesting, an article comparing the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines by Mike Terry writing for BioSpace, the life sciences digital hub.  All of us are of course keen to know what may be coming with these Covid-19 vaccines.  The economic recovery and economic development we all hope for, depends upon the actual and perceived protections and treatments that are coming.

 

The best early news is the so-called “efficacy rate” … both vaccines are reporting 90%+ efficacy rates.   the CDC states that “vaccine efficacy/effectiveness (“VE”) is measured by calculating the risk of disease among vaccinated and unvaccinated persons and determining the percentage reduction in risk of disease among vaccinated persons relative to unvaccinated persons.

 

One big similarity in comparing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is that each use new messenger RNA technology.  RNA therapies that use mRNAs have been in the works prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, for possible use in personalized cancer vaccines and as vaccines for infectious diseases such as Zika virus.  However, as Mike Terry notes in his article, to-date, no therapeutic or vaccine using mRNA has been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

 

to-date, no therapeutic or vaccine using mRNA has been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

 

Both of these vaccine candidates require two doses about 28 days apart.  The Pfizer-BioNTech requires specialized refrigeration although the drug researcher and manufacturer Pfizer has designed its own packaging using dry ice that can be stored for weeks without the specialized freezers.

 

Pfizer and BioNTech have no development funding from the U.S. government, but do have a $1.95 billion agreement with the government to supply 100 million doses of the vaccine, with an option for another 500 million.   The Moderna vaccine trials were developed with financial and logistical support from the U.S. National institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Operation Warp Speed, and could receive up to $2.45 billion in federal government funding.  And Moderna has a $1.5 billion deal to supply 100 million doses to the U.S. government.

 

The rapid progress from virus detection, sequencing information availability, and these vaccines being in their current state of testing, is a testament to the role of the burgeoning life sciences research and development industry in today’s connected global community.

 

The full article at BioSpace comparing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can be reviewed here:

 

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s Vaccines Are Leading the COVID-19 Race. How Do They Compare?

 

Covid-19 Upended a Luxury Hotel Truism

Covid-19 Upended a Luxury Hotel Truism

Covid-19 upended a luxury hotel truism in 2020, that wealthy travelers make luxury accommodations impervious to economic downturns.   Those of us involved in the hotels and resorts industry, particularly the luxury segment, well remember the longstanding promoter’s line that luxury hotel investments were among the “least risk” real estate asset classes due to their business being about the rich.

 

As of November 2020, we see that among lodging segments, luxury hotels have been the most dramatically impacted by the pandemic.   Two of the leading luxury destination markets, experienced a decline in occupancy to 37% for the March through August, 2000 reporting period (per a CBRE report).   This is a remarkable result even given the pandemic.

 

Travel restrictions, quarantines, infection rates, and safety concerns have gutted corporate travel and group business of all kinds, adding to how Covid-19 upended a luxury hotel truism in 2020.   Looking ahead, although there is some evidence that the luxury segment rebounded reasonably well after past recessions, there has been no “black swan” economic event similar to this year’s pandemic.   Luxury travel will return, whether for leisure or business, but we may also remember this year as having propelled alternate accommodations – eco resorts, glamping, and the like.

 

Ironically, that staycationing concept and the driving distance lodging distances that are implied, proved to be the winner.  California’s coastal resort segment might have been one exception to the difficulties with luxury travelers, but the additional California policies for shuttering industries (including Covid-19 restrictions for accommodations) was an additional impedance.

 

We will now remember 2020 as the year that exploded this “luxury hotels are the safe investment” myth, perhaps fallacy.   There have always been independent luxury accommodations, since those days when our ancestors traveled the early highways and inns popped up along the way.  But it is the luxury “chain” concept were the “luxury can’t fail line” really took hold.

 

Some History of the Luxury Lodging Segment

 

William B. Johnson helped to propel this promotional line, in the years following his acquisition of the Ritz-Carlton hotel brand in 1983.   Most hoteliers are unaware that part of W.B. Johnson’s legacy is the initial founding of the Hotel Asset Manager’s Association (“HAMA”).   Founding HAMA members were asset managers involved with luxury hotel investments, each of which on behalf of owners deeply unhappy with the annual coupons coming from these assets.

 

Other luxury lodging brands were getting going in those days.  Just before W.B. Johnson, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts was founded by Caroline Rose Hunt in 1979.   And although a somewhat parallel development, between 1981 and 1983 the first of the boutique hotels opened.  These included the first Kimpton Hotel and the first Morgans Hotel (in New York, an Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell creation).

 

The 1980’s saw more luxury chains take hold.  The Mandarin Oriental name was established in 1985 following the merger of Mandarin International Hotels Limited and the holding company of the hotel The Oriental.   Aman Resorts got its start in 1988, the result of Adrian Zecha’s initial interest in building a vacation home in Phuket which became a plan to open a boutique resort with Anil Thadani and others.

 

In the next decade, in 1999, Fairmont Hotels would merge with Canadian Pacific Hotels, creating the truly iconic luxury lodging brand as we know it today.

 

There are certainly predecessors to these chain roll-outs, such as Four Seasons (which took hold following Inn on the Park in 1970), and, RockResorts which dates is origin story to 1956 at Caneel Bay on St. John USVI.   Few of these founders would have believed that a day would come when luxury hotels were the emptiest of hotels, when Covid-19 upended a luxury hotel truism in 2020.

the future of co-working places and players

The Future of Co-Working Spaces and Players

The future of co-working spaces and players has been propelled by the Covid-19 pandemic but new players were already busy entering the sector.   Coworking is an arrangement where workers from different companies share an office space, with access to common equipment, IT, utilities, and receptionist, and sometimes refreshments and mail services.

 

There has been a continuing evolution in coworking space since the 1960’s, when OmniOffices Group, Inc. (now IWG plc’s HQ brand) and Fegen Suites (whose legacy ended up with Barrister Executive Suites) pioneered predecessor sharing concepts.   Later entries such as St. Oberholz (Berlin) pioneered the Internet cafe and a fully communal experience.

 

The hotel industry is likely to take a large role in providing co-working and remote work spaces to travelers and local businesses.   Hotels and resorts have cost advantages over the myriad of co-working startups, as well as many excellent locations for this purpose, brand recognition, and the opportunity to provide food and beverage, additional personal services, and amenities.  Zoku in Amsterdam (established in 2016) is among the terrific examples –  a self-described “workmeetsplay hotel” concept for the global nomad.

 

The advantages of  the hotel industry are apparent with recent events.  WeWork is the Softbank-funded co-working company that has illustrated the difficulty of its business model; that simply being a well-funded first mover without any sustaining competitive advantages, is no business model at all.   As Covid-19 has weakened all co-working companies, the hotel industry is poised to make larger inroads.

 

In September 2020, AccorHotels has announced its £35 daily fee “Hotel Offices” work spaces, with the added perk of room service and lobby bar (in many locations).   Proper Hospitality is partnering with Industrious to bring the work-from-hotel concept to its hotels in Austin, San Francisco, and Santa Monica, with additional hotels to come.  Scandic Hotels, Sheraton, and Moxy Hotels (Marriott) have also announced similar programs.

 

Proptech firms such as LiquidSpace are bringing tech platforms to coworking, allowing any property owner to inventory and work with tenants desiring co-work, shared, or nearby remote places to work.   These Proptech applications are similar to the disruptive economics and connectivity of sellers and buyers, that companies  like Uber have brought to other industries.

 

 

Coworking Companies - the Latest

 

 

For More Information

 

We track the industry and the prospects for the future of co-working spaces and players, for clients exploring anchor tenant possibilities for projects.  For more information about the co-working industry, its players, history, and recent deals, click here:

 

Co-Working Companies – the Latest

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