Tony Hordon, MD for Parabola, Reflects on the Property Industry


Tony Hordon, MD for Parabola, Reflects on the Property Industry






As we start into Spring, I reflect on recent events in the property industry. Mark Twain gave the sage advice that when it comes to land; “they’re not making it anymore”!  Real estate is finite and there are very few businesses that operate without a requirement for land.

In the year past in Edinburgh, the truth is that it was difficult for most businesses. Real estate businesses were hit especially hard – increased interest rates, falling valuations, rising property yield, rampant build cost inflation. And, of course, the ‘will they won’t they’ return to the office.

Nevertheless, we must retain our optimism. There is only one way to go from a downturn and that is up! Further good news is that most businesses become bored being pessimistic and innovation especially flourishes in challenging times.  Write down in values and distressed disposals sometimes unlocks exciting opportunities.

Despite economic predictions or political posturing in an election year – the property agenda still remains the same as does the challenge for well-being. Our productivity requires to be effectively addressed, mental and physical health in a population rapidly aging cannot be ignored.  Whilst facing the real and present danger of a housing crisis here in Edinburgh, the climate emergency and ensuring we have sustainable, accessible spaces to thrive.

In the capital, we have some of the most acute challenges on a larger scale than many similarly sized cities.

In my experience as part of the leadership creating a new quarter of the city, at Edinburgh Park, we are well placed to realise a unique opportunity for the benefit of the whole city and beyond. Edinburgh Park is one of only a handful of sites with scale, and location, which can respond to all the agenda and challenges we face.

But you need a vision. Edinburgh Park is Parabola’s chairman and founder Peter Millican’s vision. ‘An ambitious new community designed around the happiness and success of its people’.

This vision is starting to materialise, but it does take time. Time to assemble the right team, ensuring appropriate skills and chemistry to deliver against the challenges.

Nevertheless, with belief, with calmness, and with a great deal of patience, you will overcome the odds.

Working with the City of Edinburgh Council is paramount, we cannot speak more highly of them given their own budgetary and resource pressures. We have had a partnership which is now realising an exemplar community which will be considered a trailblazer in place-making and community evolution in years to come.

When we started 2023 at Edinburgh Park – we really were staring at an empty sheet and empty building at 1 New Park Square. Now 12 months on a considerable amount has been achieved. Four new tenants for 1 New Park Square  - Marsh McLennan, Sainsbury's Bank, GE Digital and Element – then an Arena and now the very respected Edinburgh-based S1 has agreed terms to be our trusted partner to kickstart the residential phase.

The success of Edinburgh Park is reflective of the city’s fortunes. Remain optimistic, remain patient, build well, build the best and care for the environment and community – and they will come – and as Mark Twain reminded us they are still not making any more land!