Industry news

Investors looking to add value through service as much as space

The emergence of @WeWork as one of the world’s leading real estate brands has had a seismic impact on the sector as a whole.  Although the landlord/tenant relationship was beginning to evolve across all sectors, the arrival of challenger businesses has accelerated this process and changed the status quo for good. Even the most conservative investors have woken up to the concept of space as a service.  As such, real estate owners can no longer simply offer bricks and mortar in exchange for regular rental income – they need to offer a service that is genuinely collaborative, innovative and genuinely dial-shifting in terms of their occupiers’ businesses.

The latest example of this is @ThorEquities recent launch a new life sciences platform, as reported via @PropertyEU.  This move will see the investor move away from pure real estate investment and become an incubator of nascent life sciences businesses.  Having just acquired a $150m life sciences centre in New Jersey comprising laboratory space, research & development facilities and specialist life sciences equipment, Thor will also invest in start-ups and existing businesses as a way of diversifying its interest above and beyond real estate.

“We are pleased to announce the launch of Thor Sciences as well as the acquisition of The Center of Excellence,” Thor Equities Chairman and CEO Joseph Sitt said in a release. “We have been an early advocate for the sector, having previously acquired assets in Berkeley and Boston, and are now ready to advance our global platform.”


This is a clearly a forward-thinking business model and it will be interesting to see if it gains traction elsewhere.  Could we see shopping centre owners investing in fledgeling retail businesses or office landlords off-setting rental income in favour of an equity stake in new ventures?

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