This, Cullen argues, is the kind of differentiator a modern tower needs: “A thrill experience develops a point of difference for a tower and drives media exposure and visitation to the public access points, such as observation decks. Executed right, it can generate significant brand strength, which only elevates the property value.”
Providing an additional draw for the public also means the likes of high-rise office buildings can play a more active part in the fabric of a 24-hour city, suggests David Reynolds, JLL National Director and Head of Neighbourly Matters.
“With tall buildings in general, the agenda is complex: it’s a matter of trying to find a balance between requirements of a growing population, urban density, job creation, wealth expansion, lifestyle, community and well-being,” he explains. “We have to recognize that government, local authorities and planners don’t want dead zones in cities – for instance in financial districts such as London, Frankfurt and New York after 6pm. Tall buildings offering alternative attractions help with growth and introduce a different source of revenue.”
Tech steps in to add the thrill factor
It seems likely that the immediate future will see developers building-in even bigger, better and faster attractions to fuel the public appetite.
However, fashions in tourism and consumer culture are also being driven by trends in the entertainment sector, where there is a lot of interest in digital gaming and excitement about Virtual Reality (VR) technology, such as Oculus Rift.
Innovation in this field could impact significantly on exactly how real-estate thrills get delivered. According to Reynolds, VR may well help creatives work around the twin obstacles of corporate restraint and planning restrictions.
“With the technology coming through, who is to say we won’t have a change in direction? At the minute, we have physical zip-wires and slides. However, you may have a breakout space in a corporate world where the physical manifestation may not be tolerated, but you can however utilize VR solutions instead.
“Similarly, in the more conservative planning areas like London and Paris, it will typically be baby steps with the physical thrill features, unlike Vegas or Dubai. So, again, VR equivalents may help gain more immediate buy-in.”
Looking ahead, strong prospects are forecast for ongoing integration of physical and digital worlds. Particularly with respect to high-rise development, therefore, this marriage of place and technology offers the real-estate sector a dynamic opportunity, Allison believes.
“I think VR is going to fly. People are already being walked through buildings with a 360° immersive virtual experience. You will see VR alongside physical sensory elements and effects catering to smell and touch to heighten the experience.”
Indeed, modern culture is increasingly putting a premium on novel experiences. “It comes back to making sure the real-estate environment in which we live, work and play is exceeding people’s expectations. Meeting expectations has already been built – the future lies in the rest,” Reynolds concludes.
By Jim McClelland for JLL REAL VIEWS