Why knowing the story behind your vacancy count “can make a huge difference”

So what’s your town or city centre’s real vacancy rate…?

It’s a question sparked this week by finalising Initial Data Reports listing the units that look empty for 3 #highstreet locations after running #TheVacantShopsAcademy ‘audit’ there.

Next step is to ‘engage’ with #property agents, landlords and businesses to understand the backstory of the ‘empties’ and any barriers to letting. Part of that is checking the status of those units. Tho they appear to be vacant, are they actually let but have yet to see fit out start…? Are they at heads of terms, or under offer or has refurbishment work by the new tenant started behind closed doors.

Knowing the answer to these questions can make a huge difference to a place. In one location we audited, the number of units that were still ‘empty and available’ after we’d checked was ONE THIRD of the headline vacancy figure from that initial walk-see check.

Where that’s the case, finding the scale of vacancy is very much smaller than it appears, can mean a very different policy, projects, #placemaking approach going forward.

You might have been thinking demolish, repurpose, turn to resi when actually what you need is to curate the last few vacants to uses that add to your place’s mix and attractiveness. You may even need to create extra #retail or #hospitality space…?

That’s why we’re so keen to see more places take charge of this issue and drill down beyond the visual vacancy count.

It’ll be interesting to see what the numbers for the latest commissions get to…!

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