REEF Technology partnership to transform under-utilised space
Capital & Regional has signed a ground breaking new agreement with REEF Technology, that will see underutilised elements of two of the Company’s car parks and shopping centres transformed into mixed-use neighbourhood hubs that provide locally curated goods, services and experiences. The new hubs will further enhance the central role Capital & Regional’s shopping centres play in serving their local communities by satisfying the needs of the on-demand economy and creating new employment opportunities. The partnership also aims to enhance the centres’ net operating income and ultimately the net asset value of the respective properties.
We believe this innovative new agreement provides a blueprint for how community shopping centres can fully embrace and benefit from the digital economy in the future, while continuing to fulfil the vital role as physical destinations.Capital & Regional Chief Executive
REEF already has a significant presence in the United States and Canada, operating across a network of more than 4,500 locations that are embedded in local communities in over 200 cities. In November 2020, REEF confirmed a $700 million growth equity fund from a group of investors including Mubadala Investment Company and the SoftBank Vision Fund, and a $300 million joint infrastructure vehicle to acquire strategic real estate assets via REEF’s newly established Neighbourhood Property Group. The combined $1 billion will facilitate both the further development of its platform and to accelerate its U.S. and global expansion.
The transaction with Capital & Regional is the first time REEF will bring its full suite of alternate uses and car park management systems to shopping centres in the U.K. and initially covers the Company’s Luton and Wood Green assets. Discussions are also underway with regards to bringing the alternate uses to Capital & Regional’s Walthamstow and Ilford centres.
REEF intends to fully leverage the centres’ proximity and potential as neighbourhood hubs to provide a range of innovative tech-enabled goods and services to the surrounding areas which may include:
- Neighbourhood Kitchens (NBHRD Kitchens) that provide full-scale culinary curation, operations and delivery only services. These kitchens are used to support multiple local and international restaurant offerings including the introduction of new brands both to the local area, or even to the UK for the first time. REEF is set to announce a number of new restaurant partners that will be joining its delivery-only platform.
- Urban farms utilising vertical hydroponic agricultural technology which are able to satisfy demand from businesses and consumers for products that are locally grown and therefore more environmentally friendly, being less reliant on long supply chains
- Last mile logistics, storage and fulfilment as well as digital lockers. All goods and services are delivered in an environmentally conscious way, with REEF’s couriers and trademark e-scooter cargo fleet delivering packages quickly and cleanly to homes and businesses. At the same time its micro-distribution infrastructure empowers delivery partners to adopt eco-friendly methods of transport for last-mile fulfilment.
- Smart transit and eco-friendly commuting – including e-bikes, e-scooter rental stations, electric vehicle charging, and digitalised car park management.
Lawrence Hutchings, Chief Executive of Capital & Regional commented: “Our convenience driven, community centre focus rests on providing our local catchments with access to tailored goods and services in whatever form their needs require. While we fully understand the important role our centres continue to play as physical destinations, we are also acutely aware of the need to innovate to ensure they fulfil their potential to play a vital role in the growing digitalisation of local economies – which has accelerated in the last year. Our centres are perfectly placed, given their town-centre positioning, to provide a range of supply chain, manufacturing, logistics and storage services that bring new jobs and experiences to their local area.
“REEF is at the very forefront of delivering these services and through this innovative new partnership can leverage its technology, experience and environmentally friendly working practices from the U.S. and apply these to under-utilised space in our car parks and centres, transforming them into neighbourhood hubs that makes a positive contribution to the local community and economy. We believe this innovative new agreement provides a blueprint for how community shopping centres can fully embrace and benefit from the digital economy in the future, while continuing to fulfil the vital role as physical destinations.”
Barak Zimerman, Managing Director – Europe for REEF said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Capital & Regional across its portfolio to help enhance the value of its retail assets. The need to adapt and transform retail has never been greater. Our leading proximity platform will enable Capital & Regional to plug into our ecosystem of alternative use case partnerships and drive its assets recovery as businesses evolve post-pandemic. REEF will drive commercial value and better serve the local neighbourhoods and communities with our last mile logistics and mobility solutions. We’re looking forward to reimagining how REEF and Capital & Regional’s parking real estate can provide innovative ways to better serve the local neighbourhood.”