The future of the office market is a ‘hub and spoke’ model, says M7 boss Richard Croft | In line
With Covid rules easing and city center living returning, M7 boss Richard Croft predicts the emergence of regional office hubs will dominate business models in the near future, particularly then as investors seek to address climate challenges by upgrading poorly performing and older assets.
While the pandemic has temporarily eliminated the need for long commutes to work, Croft believes “that won’t stick – we have a primary need for interaction, and the office will always prevail.” He envisions a greater appetite for locality and an incentive to work Close for– but no– residence.
In an energetic and entertaining interview, Croft talks about recent successes in retail warehousing investing, given the likely impact of logistics and purchasing on real estate. And when it comes to workspace, he practices what he preaches, dividing his time between an office in his hometown of Suffolk and London.
He predicts that a dynamic hub-and-spoke model – a centralized office “hub” with the choice to work in smaller “spokes” – will emerge as the next model for office work.
Croft’s first company, Halverton, founded in 2005, was sold to GPT in 2007 and he became managing director of the new GPT-Halverton. As the landscape of entrepreneurship changed to become ruled by institutional capital, Croft admits he struggled through his early career.
However, sees his later mistakes as some of his biggest lessons. The industry leader testifies: “You learn a lot more from your failure than from your success. When you fail, you can do two things: run, or learn, and do better.
In September 2021, M7 entered into a strategic partnership with Oxford Properties Group, one of the world’s leading property investors, asset managers and business builders.
M7 provides Oxford with a specialized platform, through which it can increase the deployment of capital in Europe, particularly in multi-tenant industrial and urban logistics. Croft sees the move as a turning point, moving away from operating as a “shark business”, fearing he is “buying, selling and fueling a machine that has flooded the world with cash”.
Looking to the future, Croft wonders “how [best] integrate technology, because it will only play a greater role in our world”. He argues that automation is a risk to society, suggesting that “if wage inflation stops being profitable, automation will take hold much faster, creating a lot of unemployment. We need a plan for how automation fits into society”.