Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Frankfurt "What If" Game

So, this week....the Boston Consulting Group sat down and laid out their analysis of BREXIT, London banking jobs, and what may happen.  They think potentially....80,000 jobs will leave London over the next couple of years.

This naturally hyped up the Frankfurt folks because among the three most likely cities with the right mix of banking, commerce and "look".....they think they are in best seat to grab ALL of the 80,000 jobs.

Already now, Frankfurt is a city of 731,000.....but you can draw a 20-kilometer circle and the real population goes to around three million or more.  With the autobahn system and public transportation.....the city is a major player in the business and banking world today.

So, what happens if all eighty thousand jobs did happen to go to Frankfurt....is the emphasis of this essay.

First, you'd have to start planning at least three or four more skyscrapers in the central area of town.  You can bet that the city would bend over backwards to arrange property deals and open up property on the north part of town for overflow situations.

The odds of the 80,000 Brits coming alone?  Zero.....they have wives, husbands and children as well....so this really starts to add up to 150,000 in the big dynamic.  All living in Frankfurt?  No.  In fact, I would take a guess that fewer than 10-percent would settle in the city itself.  Probably over fifty-percent would settle somewhere in Wiesbaden or the upper-class neighborhoods/towns that rest between Frankfurt and Wiesbaden.  The international school over in the area of the Wiesbaden-Naurod would be a target area for those British bankers with families.

Prices for renting and home sales?  All would escalate at least 25-percent over the next five years in the affected areas.  A building boom would occur, with construction jobs hyped up and active for the next five to ten years.

The real effect of 150,000 Brits in one central area of Germany?  Someone would start up a radio station.....Radio-London.....somewhere in the region, designed for the bulk of this audience.  Special pubs would spring up in central Frankfurt and Wiesbaden....with names like: Crown Jewels, London by the Rhine, The Queen's Mann, The Lusty Pig, and The Hessen Tart.  A series would likely start up on state-run German TV, with both German and British actors, over some mixed-up neighborhood in Frankfurt and the various weird characters who show up to settle in-depth discussions over horse-power, hair-loss, or frightful angry women.

Money transiting the area?  It doesn't matter if you are talking more flights at the Flughafen, more pubs opening, more restaurants, more apartments, more houses, more school rooms, more subway traffic, more cars on the road, more bicycles, more suits being sold, more German job growth in the region, more ale being served, more fish and chips sold at lunch, more German classes, more Brit-theme disco operations, or more British interaction with neighborhood associations....more is better.

The odds of this happening?

That's the bigger discussion.  BREXIT has scared the crap out of central London and the banking empire.  The big guys are sitting there and trying to imagine survival if the UK does actually leave the EU (maybe they never leave).  Can business sustain itself within London, without the EU connection? This is an uncertain situation.  And if you do decide staying won't work.....is it really better in Frankfurt, or in Paris, or in Dublin?  Can you afford Paris?  Can you talk 80,000 employees into moving into Frankfurt?  Can you find upscale homes and apartments in abundance around Frankfurt?  A thousand different questions and limited answers.

For me, I can imagine a hyped-up Wiesbaden hosting a minimum of 30,000 Brits in five to seven years.  It'll be a different town, and really reshape the look and feel of the city.

Maybe this is all an imaginary game and simply a chance to play "what if".  But it's a pretty serious game of "what if".

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