A recently returned player to the property development game is showing what may be the new way to conceive projects.
Property development has changed significantly, especially in the last 15 years, with the formula of pre-construction offerings, high-energy sales and big marketing budgets. Buyers clamour to get a piece of property well before any real foundations are laid, suiting both developers and their bankers perfectly, in fact property developers that don’t proceed this way are often squeezed out of the market by rising holding costs and a finance market that gets more demanding and protective of its cash. In effect the old formula of “design, build, sell” has now been flipped into “sell, design, build.”
Steve Bell, originally from Australia, evolved from construction, design, and property development into one of the world’s powerhouses of 3D services for property – Archiform 3D. Focused on flexibility, and leveraging staggering computer processing power, Bell found a niche for taking on unusual projects and delivering big, ensuring his association with many of the world’s most ambitious ventures.
So where does a guy who reached the top of his field go next? In this case it’s backwards, although in a good way – back to property. Bell seeks to show what the combination of a full 3D and virtual approach has on projects and has partnered up to get the near $500 million Ascot Grand Bahama development moving, essentially becoming his own client. From just vacant land, and no established competitive formulas, Ascot was conceived, refined and “soft sold” early, attracting broad international attention as an alternative, Bahamian, escape for condo buyers.
Designers, investors and realtors have been immersed into the project early, perfecting each part in 3D well before most developers even get early renderings done. Hitting the market “soft” with imagery that was normally reserved for the regular sales process allows the Ascot product to adapt while budgets, projections and designs are still flexible.
Bell expresses; “When a project is designed there are always big decisions to make, and sometimes you can’t help but doubt your choices. With Ascot we have the ability to take a look at every decision in great detail and realism, so we are, or soon become, confident in everything we do.”
He also points out that this process is particularly suited for crowd funding, as not only does it yield accurate financial data quickly, it backs it up with incredible images and video.
This extensive virtual approach is unique, and the results wont be seen until later this year, but one thing is very certain: when Ascot launches for sales it will have the most extensive and detailed 3D ever seen on a project of its type. It may just set a standard for whole property game.