City Regions charm investors at international property event

Yorkshire’s City Regions are in Cannes, France wooing international businesses at the MIPIM property event.

Harbour in Cannes, where the MIPIM event is taking place.

Leeds City Region held a breakfast briefing which explored how developers, planners and funders can work together to maximise the opportunities for infrastructure development in the UK.

It also looked at how HS2, ‘HS3’ and the proposed updates to the regional transport infrastructure will help drive regeneration and investment.

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The panel included James Dipple, chief executive of MEPC developer and manager of Wellington Place; Jon Kenny, development director, Commercial Estates Group; Malcolm Smith, urban design director, Arup; Tom Riordan, chief executive, Leeds City Council and Jamie Kerr, head of regeneration company development, HS2 Ltd.

The event opened with a look at Leeds City Region and the investment ready opportunities there, namely that it includes major strategic cities such as Leeds and provides connectivity both digitally and via its position at the heart of the UK.

Malcolm Smith then went on to explain the vision for both Leeds South Bank and York Central. He said that the aim is to create a place with a contemporary uniqueness at both sites, that regains territory, embraces the landscape, and creates a new public realm identity which complements the wider area. He added that the aim was to change the ways that cities relate to stations.

Later on in the day Sheffield City Region held a roundtable on the knowledge economy, chaired by Greg Clark, global advisor to cities.

Keith Lilley, from the University of Sheffield, talked up the surge in engineering aided by investment in projects like Factory 2050 and the £80m Diamond, representing its largest investment in teaching and learning.

The panel debated the importance of world beating academic facilities in the current highly competitive higher education sector.

CEX of Sheffield City Region Ben Still then pitched to investors the city region’s ambition to build 70,000 new homes in 10 years.

He highlighted key investment and development opportunities, including three proposed housing growth zones short listed by government.

Speaking after the event, Mr Still said: “It has been a great day two at MIPIM where the University of Sheffield have showcased the best of the city region, through the story of their multi-million pound property investment most recently with the Diamond and Factory 2050.

“Such investment is yielding economic growth, as it attracts world class companies to co-locate, putting the city region at the forefront of advanced manufacturing.”

At the property event the start of building work on the next phase of Wellington Place in Leeds was also announced.

The latest office development at the city centre site, 5 Wellington Place, will provide up to 1.5m sq ft of brand new office, residential and hotel space in addition to 175,000 sq ft of existing office and retail space, let to a range of well-known companies.

James Dipple said: “Announcing the beginning of work on 5 Wellington Place is a further demonstration of how there is a real buzz in the city region, driven by a strengthening of the economy, demand and confidence levels, for investors, developers and occupiers.”

Mr Riordan added: “The further developments at Wellington Place alongside the upcoming projects in the South Bank mean that there is a real impetus that will help to meet the demand for grade A office space in the city centre.”

MIPIM is a international real estate exhibition, which will conclude on Friday.

UK attractive to investors

Speaking at the BPF, GVA, Reed Midem investor breakfast British Property Federation (BPF) president, Bill Hughes, said: “The transparency, liquidity and professionalism of the UK makes it attractive to international investment, and the contribution that our industry makes to the UK’s economic and social infrastructure is becoming more significant within government.”