The Olympia event attracted developers, investors but in particular UK regions such as the North East determined to show that they were the ideal locations for business. And what a show Invest North East England (INEE) put on as it represented opportunities within the North East Combined Authority (NECA) heartland.
It was just as well as strong competition came from another 50 or so UK locations, all with the same ‘we are open for business’ message. Swept aside was the post-Brexit gloom, the focus was on an optimistic future.
Of the many UK regions and cities that exhibited Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds City Region, some of our colleagues in the Northern Powerhouse, showed they were ready to address the challenges and opportunities ahead of them. It was all about opportunity through planning, regeneration and skills. The political imperative is to deliver economic stability and growth to the regions and property and infrastructure will be pivotal to delivering this growth agenda.
Guy Currey, director of INEE, who organised and led the North East delegation, said that it was important to represent the North East and “let people know why the region is such an attractive place for investors and developers to base their projects”.
Supporting INEE were Broadoak Asset Management, Carillion-Arlington, Citrus Durham, Hanro Group and Siglion, law firm Ward Hadaway, and representatives from the region’s local authorities.
What impressed most of all was the array of developments either ‘on-site’ or in the development ‘pipeline’. These were Baltic Business Quarter, Gateshead; Brett Wharf, Gateshead; East Pilgrim Street, Newcastle; Durham City Park, Durham; Gateshead Central, Gateshead; Milburngate, Durham; Vaux, Sunderland; Stephenson Quarter, Newcastle; Indigo Park, North Tyneside; Integra 61, Durham; NETPark, County Durham; Quorum Business Park, Newcastle; Wansbeck Business Park, Ashington, Northumberland; Neptune Yard, Newcastle; Energy Central, Blyth, Northumberland; Royal Quays Enterprise Park; Port of Tyne, North Tyneside; Sunderland Low Carbon Enterprise Zone, Sunderland; Ashwood Business Park, Northumberland; Swans, North Tyneside; Follingsby South, Gateshead; Hawthorn Business Park, Durham; Holborn Riverside Office Quarter, South Shields; International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), Sunderland/South Tyneside; Port of Sunderland; Newcastle International Airport Business Park, Newcastle; Tyne Dock Enterprise Park, Port of Tyne, South Shields and the Ramparts Business Park, Berwick, Northumberland.
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As Neil Robson, partner and head of Property at Ward Hadaway, said: “North East England has a lot to shout about when it comes to the property sector and we are very proud to be have added our voice to this at MIPIM UK.
“We work with a wide range of private and public sector clients in helping to deliver developments across the region so we recognise this is an excellent opportunity to spread the word about the North East’s capabilities to a national and international audience,” he said.
One central theme was investment, as the organisers said “how these extraordinary times might offer extraordinary returns for investors”. If in doubt about investment the following tale of three northern cities shows how important it is.
Manchester has enjoyed a surge of interest from domestic institutional investors in recent years, with more than £8 billion of investment in commercial real estate between 2006 and September 2015. A focus on long term investment is demonstrated in schemes such as 1 Spinningfields Square, acquired by M&G Real Estate for £318.39m and MediaCityUK at Salford Quays, where Legal & General acquired a 50% stake for £251.5m. In turn this has led to interest from international investors, with AEW’s purchase of 101 Barbirolli Square in Manchester being a primary example. The opening of the new Graphene Centre at Manchester University in early 2015 has also helped to place the city on the map in terms of collaboration between science and business.
Liverpool has enjoyed a transformational multi-billion pound economic regeneration in the last 20 years. There has been more than £2bn of investment in commercial real estate between 2006 and September 2015. The city is ever more attractive to investors, with access to six million customers, an economy worth more than £121 billion and 252,000 businesses.
Meanwhile Leeds City Region, over the same time-span, has enjoyed more than £3.5 billion of investment in commercial real estate, with a diverse mix of retail, office and industrial as well as leisure and hotels. Leeds is attracting a greater number of visitors each year and with the launch of Trinity Leeds in 2013 has seen further growth in retail, most recently with Hammerson’s much anticipated £165m Victoria Gate – a retail, dining and leisure development. The increasing demand for office space for professional services industries is also being met with new office districts such as Wellington Place.
Has the North East progressed as well? In the last two years, INEE, together with its seven NECA partners and the UK Government, has helped to attract 204 inward investments into the North East from both foreign and UK-owned businesses and leading to the creation of 9,500 jobs. And of course there is Legal & General Capital’s recent decision to support the £350 million Newcastle Science Central, one the biggest urban regeneration projects of its kind in the UK. (See North East Times October issue)
This is a unique deal that will see the financial services giant becoming a long term investment partner on Science Central alongside Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University and follows the innovative investment deal with Aviva which was so instrumental in bringing forward the successful first phase of the Stephenson Quarter.
MIPIM UK was a platform and dedicated exhibition area for debate, networking and learning to discuss what impact Brexit will have on development and investment across the UK. It was an opportunity to meet some of the key players involved in fostering the UK’s position as a destination for foreign direct investment and without doubt INEE took up the challenge.