TECH GIMMICK… We were a little cynical about everyone jumping on the bandwagon of virtual reality as the latest tech innovation to bridge the gap into the property world, until we received a package in the post from Bruntwood, with a headset and instructions of how to access a tour of its Neo office on a smartphone. The cardboard ‘build it yourself’ glasses were the most challenging part for our little brains, but once in place we were amazed by the quality of the graphics and happily wandered around the office, bumping into desks.
RESTAURANT HYPE… Following Gary Usher’s success with Sticky Walnut in Chester, Burnt Truffle in Heswall and – after a debacle with sites in Chorlton – Hispi in Didsbury, his next crowd-funded and likewise peculiarly-named restaurant plan is to bring Wreckfish to Liverpool’s old watchmakers’ factory in Ropewalks. Apparently there is no plan and no money as yet but it hasn’t stopped Usher before, and he is hoping to raise £200,000 to open Wreckfish early next year.
READER… Andy Delaney of Colliers was the lucky winner of two tickets for Place Party in October 2017, having taken part in our Readers Survey. Thanks to all who took part, and congratulations to Andy – here’s a reminder from this year’s event of what you’ve got in store…
BUSINESS ADAGE… Bolton-based Landmark Investments’ managing director Mark Hawthorn can always be relied upon for a sharp view on growing and developing a solid business. Our latest favourite certainly puts any office troublemakers in their place:
"Only the person who isn't rowing has time to rock the boat" – good one to remember when assessing culture and performance in a business
— Landmark Investments (@LandmarkInvsGrp) December 13, 2016
COUNCIL INNOVATION… “And now, please vote using your buzzers!” is probably not a sentence that anyone expects to hear in a planning committee. However, apparently it’s the method now being used by Wigan Council when it comes to asking councillors if they wish to approve or refuse planning applications. Adding to the game show-like tension, while members vote, a handy green pie chart is shown on screen, gradually turning red should the unlucky project be dismissed. We do love a bit of planning drama.
BLAST FROM THE PAST… December was once a time when a Christmas message would drop into media inboxes from vocal Cheshire East Council leader Michael Jones, talking about such festive subjects as defending why the borough still didn’t have a Local Plan. The often-controversial Jones quit as leader last year. He’s holding onto bygone glory however, at least on Twitter, where Jones’ profile still names him as council leader. Obviously more sentimental than we thought.
CLIENT ENDORSEMENT… We’re used to receiving enthusiastic quotes in press releases, but one that snuck into an announcement about Liverpool law firm MSB Solicitors’ move to No4 St Paul’s Square was a highlight this week. Office agents are often forgotten, but Paul Bibby, managing director of MSB, couldn’t praise his representative Mark Worthington enough. Apparently, not only does he have great negotiating skills, but Bibby described him as “an engaging character” and “a genuine pleasure”. Worthington swears he didn’t draft the quote on his client’s behalf. Honest.
FONT FANCY… If you cast your mind back about 10 years, you’ll recall that all the cool bars had single-syllable names which were proudly displayed in their sans-serif lower case fonts: cord, centro, fringe, blue, beluga, dry. Of course there were, and are, exceptions: Night & Day for example. There’s a definite mood shift from pared-down cool to opulence though, embodied by Albert’s Schloss, Piccolino and others. Sleek modernism is giving way to the surging scrolls and fleur de lis of the baroque.
CONSULTEE… We came across Captain Caeos, representing the Hulme and Moss Side Age Friendly Neighbourhoods at the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework consultation. Nice to see a bit of old-school, grass roots, community campaigning in the room.