The 2016 Six Nations Rugby Tournament has begun! So in the spirit of sporting pride, we thought we’d take a look at another way that these six fine nations are currently competing with each other: through property development.

Though these six countries are certainly among the most stable European markets, there’s a significant difference in property prices between them. According to figures from the Global Property Guide, England, Scotland and Wales have the highest overall property buying price with a collective average cost of €25,575 per square metre. Next up is France with a per square metre cost of €13,639, followed by Italy with a comparatively low price of €5,930. At the bottom of this particular league is Ireland with the lowest property price per square metre at €4,156.

Despite these differences in property prices, one thing all six nations have in common is that they’re all investing in major developments in order to boost their economy and improve their cities.

To give you a taste of each property market, we’ve chosen one big upcoming development from each nation.


England – the Birmingham Big City Plan



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The Birmingham Big City Plan is a twenty year development project designed to transform Birmingham city centre into a centre for sustainable growth, improved connectivity, authentic character, environmental quality and a diverse residential community.

This plan is particularly ambitious as it aims to increase city centre space by 25%. There are a series of distinct character areas planned and the council is adopting a flexible approach to the evolution of land uses.

Any development on this scale would be expected to take time. Birmingham City Council are managing the process and expect the project to be completed by 2031.


Ireland – Capital Dock Development, Dublin



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Capital Dock is an innovative new high rise development located in Dublin’s docklands. The project is being managed jointly by global property company Kennedy Wilson and NAMA.

The site area is 4.8 acres in size and is currently one of the largest undeveloped sites in the CBD. The project will introduce 600,000 square feet of usable space to a prime waterfront location. It will include 313,000 square feet of office space, 204 high-quality residential homes and a  landscaped park and square.

Work is expected to be finished on the site in 2017.


France – Reinventing Paris



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Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, has set a fantastic challenge for property developers. The city has offered up 23 urban sites for architects and developers to pitch for. They’re looking for a range of ideas: the most innovative and futuristic the better. Though Paris is already a world class city with an impressive reputation, city officials know they need to keep moving forward in order to stay on top.

After the first stage of applications, 650 ideas have been approved. These include work from professionals in more than fifteen countries. The huge range of approved developments include leisure facilities, residential units, office space, hotels and commercial units.

The proposed developments are now under panel discussion and the next round of decisions are expected to be announced in the spring.


Italy – ‘Sleeping Beauties’ Revival



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While many countries are looking to improve urban areas, property developers in Italy are approaching the idea of modernisation from a rather different angle. Property teams across the country are undertaking the redevelopment of 20,000 abandoned towns. The aim of this project is to boost tourism, increase employment in the hospitality industry and subsequently improve Italy’s struggling economy.

This significant development project began in the ghost town of Castello di Postigano which had been empty for more than half a century. The restoration project was managed by Naples architecture firm Mirto Srl.

Many more similar projects are now underway.


Scotland – the Glasgow Harbour Project



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The Glasgow Harbour Project is a large scale development project set to transform the city’s waterfront area. Within the development there are 77 projects encompassing commercial units, housing, public amenity, infrastructure, leisure, retail and office space. The development project even included a new hospital for the city which opened in April 2015.

The 1.2 billion regeneration is a world-class project designed to revitalise the area and contribute to business and cultural life.

Many of the projects are already complete, and the entire development is expected to be completed within the next few years.


Wales – Cardiff Central Square



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Wales is seeking to make Cardiff’s central square it’s flagship development project. Plans for the new square are set to bring it in line with some of Europe’s most successful cities. The team behind the project are aiming for excellence in design, quality and diversity.

Plans include office buildings, a new headquarters for BBC Cymru, retail units, a transport interchange, student accommodation and residential units. Professional teams involved in the project include Rightacres Property, Rio Architects and Foster + Partners. Phase five of the project is expected to be completed in 2017.


Impressed at the scale of the development projects going on across the six nations? We certainly are. Though we’re certainly tempted to choose the Birmingham development as our winner, that doesn’t seem particularly sporting! Instead, we’re going to award our property development trophy to Italy for their ‘Sleeping Beauties’ revival. The scale, imagination and purpose of this project is seriously impressive, and the quality of the work that’s already taken place has given us confidence that the entire project will be a big success.

Who would you place at the top of the property development league? Let’s discuss it on Twitter. Just don’t ask us for any rugby predications!