The property development industry is not for the faint of heart.
The fine relationship between risk and reward is an inherent aspect of the housing development business model. In addition to that, the resilience of those involved in the built environment has been thoroughly tested in the last two decades. From the recession to the challenges presented by the housing crisis that Ireland is currently facing, very few industry players have walked away unscathed or unchanged by their experiences.
With that being said, planning applications for new development projects across Dublin are being proposed by familiar industry names, demonstrating the ability of companies and individuals to bounce back after setbacks or failures- even those brought on by a global economic meltdown.
Resiliency is a Necessity
Resiliency is often listed as one of the most common traits of highly successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. The American Psychological Association defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity” and many will attest to the fact that adversity is an ever-present condition in the property industry.
This resilience is a good thing for the industry, which is highly in need of expertise, vision and a sheer appetite for risk at this juncture when demand for affordable housing far outstrips the available supply.
Successful property developers often have a strong backbone and an ambitious entrepreneurial spirit. It is not surprising then that many of those in the industry have been or are currently active in sports – both at the local and professional level – or enjoy physically enduring activities such as running marathons, all-terrain cycling and triathlons.
While sports enthusiasts may or may not be experts in real estate or home building, it is reasonable to assume that they possess a certain amount of ambition, influence and resilience that can help them achieve success in the property development industry.
The Construction Index recently highlighted the development activity of former boxer Paul Smith, who was British super-middleweight champion from October 2009 until December 2012. He has entered into a joint venture with the City Council of Liverpool’s housing company to develop property in the neighbourhood of Kirkdale, where he resides.
The development proposal submitted by Smith and the Liverpool Foundations Homes will provide affordable new homes, community facilities, elderly care accommodation, an eco-park and a new boxing academy to be run by Smith.
With his local knowledge and the power of a familiar brand, Smith will be a positive and welcome addition to the built community. The project is an example of institutional capital paired with entrepreneurship and state house-building experience to vital new homes and need infrastructure improvement to the area, a model that has the potential to be replicated in other communities under similar arrangements.
Building a Strong Industry – From the People Up
The property development sector is riddled with risk and often playing it safe is not an option. Being able to bounce back from setbacks is an essential trait if you want to excel in the property sector. Persistence and an ambitious drive are what get results in an industry where the stakes are always high.
Those who have made their careers around the built environment understand the daily demands of an industry that always seems to be facing some type of crisis. While every market might operate in its own unique way, there are certain aspects of the industry that transcend geographical location.
It is important to recognise that the property industry is only as strong as the people driving it. In the built environment, there are constantly obstacles, setbacks, challenges and potential roadblocks that litter the path from project start to finish. Those who are resilient only become stronger in the face of failure.