PROPERTY 24February 25 - March 3, 2013 THE MYANMAR TIMESI N Myanmar, as in Francis Drake sighted the many developing Spanish armada while countries, historic buildings are often seen as roadblocks in the face of progress. Too often,it is simply seen as easier playing bowls. The most historic part of Plymouth, around the old harbour, or the Barbican, became a slum by the first half of the 20th century, and by the Making the most of a cand more profitable to just end of World War II plansknock them down and erect were in place to replacenew, modern structures in much of the area withtheir place. new housing. Fortunately, But people and countries a group of locals realisedinvariably come to regret what Portsmouth would losesuch an approach, quickly with the redevelopment ofrealising that their historic this historic harbour area,buildings are a treasure, a and set up an organisationunique and integral part of to take ownership of thetheir culture that, once lost, buildings and restore them.can never be retrieved. The Barbican is now full of Colliers International, a restaurants, shops, officesworldwide property services and up-market houses. Itcompany that provides is the most popular touristresearch, consultancy attraction in the city andand agency services for amongst the most popularcompanies in Myanmar, has places in the city to livea department that provides and work. Quite simply,advice on how owners, people like it because it isdevelopers and governments different.can make the most out of But Plymouth isn’t alone,the country’s historic and there are plenty ofbuildings. The service, similar cases around theColliers International world.Destination Consulting, isbased in London but works A case in point: Carnabyall over the world. There are Street, Londontwo categories of heritage The London-based companybuildings the firm works Shaftesbury is one of theon: heritage townscapes and best developers of historicheritage landmarks. buildings in the world. The Heritage townscapes are company’s approach is togroups of historic structures. buy property in sections ofThe individual structures central London and turnmight not be particularly them into urban villages.important in their own Shaftesbury’s projects onright, but collectively they Carnaby Street in London’s 1constitute an important West End have receivedhistorical or cultural particular praise. The hub use for an historic building, an assessment of which changed. several possible futures.legacy. of the “Swinging 60s” in beginning with the physical elements of the building are Colliers is assessing However, an important One Colliers survey, London, it is an area of nature of the building and important from a heritage options for a historic decision will have to be madeinvolving 35,000 people relatively small, historic its surroundings, which perspective and must be Baptist chapel built in the about whether the woodenliving across the UK, asked buildings. determine the possibilities. retained, and which are 18 th century. Located in benches are essential to thewhat people thought of Shaftesbury works by Colliers starts by making less important and can be a prosperous town, it has character of the building; thedifferent cities and towns establishing a vision foras tourist destinations. The the type of occupier theysurvey found that there was want before creating a namea high correlation between and brand for the area andthe number of historic improving the local area,buildings in towns and working in partnershipcities and their popularity with local authorities. Asas visitor destinations. a result of the company’s Simply put, the areas with work Carnaby is again onethe most historic buildings of the most popular andare usually the places that commercially successfulare most popular to visit, parts of London.and are often also the most Heritage landmarks, thepopular places to live and second category that Collierswork. deals with, are structures But historic buildings that make an impact in theirdo not constitute the only own right and come in manyattraction these towns have different forms, from templesto offer — the ways that to factory buildings.historic buildings tend tobe used is also critically Another success story:important. Gladstone Conservatory, Historic parts of towns Liverpooland cities in many parts of The Gladstone Conservatorythe world are vastly different is a Victorian palm housefrom other sections of towns located in a historic parkand cities. They tend to sandwiched between thehave more hospitality stadiums of Liverpool’sdestinations — restaurants two famous football clubs:and bars tend to like Liverpool FC and Everton 2historic buildings because FC. The building, built 150they have more character years ago, was derelict, andthan modern buildings and Liverpool FC wanted it topresent a natural edge over be restored, and Colliersthe competition. For the recommended that it besame reasons, historic areas turned into a functionusually have unique shops centre.not found in other parts of The iron and glass toptown. Businesses in creative section was taken away,industries tend to like the restored and replaced,qualities of older buildings while a lower building wasand older neighbourhoods built. The centre containsbecause they provide a restaurant, kitchens andinspiration to designers and other services. The glassartists. house on top is a large, open While it is easy to lose space for functions with allthese historic areas during the services underneath.a development boom, it is The venue is extremelyalmost always regretted. successful, and is used byThe Colliers Destination Liverpool FC for entertainingConsulting team recently guests before matches.worked in the English port There are threecity of Plymouth, famous considerations to makeas the location where Sir when deciding on the best 3
25 PROPERTY THE MYANMAR TIMES February 25 - March 3, 2013 or historically interesting now called the Victoria and can be made into tourist Quarter. It is known as thecity’s historic buildings attractions, museums or other cultural centres, these rarely have significant commercial value on their own. Region success: the Knightsbridge of the North. London’s famous Regent Street is a classic example of historic building development. The street was not performing well in National Art Gallery, the 1980s, so its owners, the Singapore Crown Estate, revamped The Singapore City Hall the entire road, envisioning and adjacent Supreme an upmarket locale occupied Court have witnessed many by flagship stores of important events in the international brands. Most country’s history. Admiral of the buildings have been Mountbatten accepted the redeveloped to create modern surrender of the Japanese interiors behind the historic forces in the City Hall on facades. The combination September 12, 1945, and of historic architecture and the building housed the modern interiors makes the office of Lee Kuan Yew area extremely attractive to when he became the first international firms looking prime minister. City to move into London. The Hall continued to house street now boasts the government departments flagship stores of several until it was vacated in 2005. international brands, in The Supreme Court Building, addition to its iconic built between 1930 and 1939, traditional tenants, such as served the judiciary system Liberty Department Store of Singapore. Its façade was and Hamleys toy shop. designed to match City Hall, Heritage plays a significant with classical architecture role in this. and corresponding Regent Street and nearby Corinthian columns. Both Bond Street have become buildings were listed as two of the most sought after national monuments in shopping streets in the world 1992, and are now being because they have been able remodelled to a design by to put modern retail space the French architectural behind historic façades. firm, Studio Milou, to form a The lesson here is that National Art Gallery, which great things can be done is scheduled to open in 2015. with Myanmar’s historic It is designed to strengthen buildings. Finding a way Singapore’s role as a regional to do it, rather than losing and international hub for the buildings, will have an 4 visual arts through the important impact on the display, promotion, research success of the country as benches will determine the a hotel in one place because concerns funding and historic buildings are often and study of Southeast Asian a place to invest, visit and possible uses for site. there is a market for it but project management: where quite expensive to restore and Singapore art. At 60,000 live. A second consideration is in many locations there’s no the money will come from and require significant square metres it will become Closer to home, what does what use the building can need for such lodgings and and who can take charge maintenance. one of the largest visual arts the future hold for Yangon’s serve in future. An historic another use must be found. of completing the work. And while some old venues in the region. Secretariat building? building might be perfect as A third consideration This is challenging because buildings are architecturally However, the estimated The Secretariat building in cost of the project is US$430 Yangon is a perfect example million, which shows how of a heritage landmark. It costly restorations can is central to the country’s be. Colliers International history, occupies prime land consultants provided in the middle of the downtown master planning, concept area and its architecture is a development and business unique example of a bygone planning advice for the era. There have been calls project. to turn it into a heritage Historic buildings often, attraction and/or a museum, however, also have intrinsic similar to what has been commercial value if restored done in Singapore, and that properly. is one option that should be Businesses often like examined. to occupy older buildings The building is very because of their character, large, however, and using it and historic buildings are entirely or predominantly for useful as features for modern that purpose and for other developments. Upmarket cultural purposes would be businesses in particular tend expensive — both to build and to occupy historic buildings to operate. It may be that a where possible because their mix of uses, some commercial exclusive nature lends itself and some non-commercial, well to their brand. The would be a better use of luxury shops in Cabot Circus, the building. The building a new shopping centre in is well-suited to hosting a the English city of Bristol, hotel, conference facilities, 5 overlook Quakers Friars, a residential facilities and chapel that is one of Bristol’s offices. If properly planned, 1. A couple walk hand-in-hand through one of the two arcades that form a part of the Victoria Quarter in Leeds, most historic buildings and these can all comfortably sit often described as one of the UKs most beautiful shopping centres. has been developed as an alongside a museum and 2. The interior of Gladstone Conservatory in Liverpool before it was renovated. upmarket restaurant. The cultural icon that respects 3. Gladstone Conservatory before its renovation. same approach has been the history of the building. taken in the northern city This opinion article was commercial success. 5. The renovated Gladstone Conservatory is used by English Premier League football side Liverpool FC to host of Leeds, where the smartest contributed by Colliers special guests before home games. Pics: SUPPLIED/ Colliers International Destination Consulting designer fashion shops are in International Destination restored Victorian Arcade, Consulting.