The property development
Case studies from Grainger Town
School of the Built Environment, Northumbria University,
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Purpose – This paper aims to contribute to the theory of property development as a complex process
that involves multiple drivers, stakeholders and contributions from many academic disciplines.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents a web-based model of the property
development process consisting of seven deﬁned major elements, each of which is subdivided and
linked by functional relationships. The model is applied to three linked case studies drawn from
Grainger Town in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, which involve the conversion or redevelopment of listed
buildings in the context of urban regeneration.
Findings – The case studies examined demonstrate the inﬂuential roles of many private sector actors
and different arms of government. Site characteristics were found to have a bearing on events, as did
long-term trends. These inputs were often independent of economic or property market forces.
Research limitations/implications – The paper relates primarily to commercial development in
the UK. The three case studies inevitably present particular circumstances, though they do represent
the reuse of existing urban sites, which is highly complex and increasingly the norm.
Practical implications – The ﬁndings of this paper should be of practical beneﬁt to anyone
involved in property development and of particular interest to organisations whose core business is
not development or to anyone engaged in a public-private development partnership.
Originality/value – This paper presents an original way of conceiving the property development
process using a web-based model. The model may be used to analyse situations where development is
strongly inﬂuenced by social, political or environmental factors.
Keywords Property management, Organizational analysis, Regeneration, Partnership, United Kingdom
Paper type Research paper
The outcomes of property development depend on a great many social, political,
economic and environmental factors, which are then affected by them. Property
development outcomes also result from the involvement of a wide range of public and
private actors. However, most development texts tend to focus on the role of the
speculative developer. This paper and the model it contains widen the focus to
embrace all public and private stakeholders and respond to the need:
...to develop an understanding of property development processes which combines a
sensitivity to the economic and social framing of development strategies with a ﬁne grain
treatment of the locally contingent responses of property actors (Guy and Henneberry, 2002,
The model presented here builds on a previously published version (Fisher and Collins,
1999). It relates primarily to commercial development in the UK and seeks to replicate the
complexity and multi-faceted nature of the practical experience of development. Level one
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Received September 2003
Revised August 2004
Vol. 23 No. 3, 2005
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited