UKREiiF was resounding success for Leeds's economy and reputation: James Lewis and Tom Riordan

With the sun shining on our wonderful city, the stage was set for the UK’s largest real estate event to return to the city, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The event has undoubtedly been an overwhelming success. We offered a warm Yorkshire welcome to over 7,500 delegates from across the globe with hundreds of events, panels and sessions, bringing together industry leaders, investors and innovators from various sectors, sparking transformative discussions and collaborations.

Hosting the largest real estate conference of its kind in the UK is a testament to the growing reputation of Leeds as a dynamic hub for innovation, business and investment. It allowed us to showcase our city’s vibrant economy and resilient development and regeneration market as well as our ambitions and plans for a healthier, greener and inclusive future for the city and world, and all during our exciting year of culture – LEEDS 2023.

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We've been blown away by the positive feedback about Leeds. People knew about us, and the success of the last few years, but they really know our story now – that of a successful, large, ambitious Northern city that is a net contributor to the Treasury by forging strong partnerships with the private sector and communities, and in turn delivering record investment. Yorkshire offers a compelling proposition for life and work, with not just wonderful landscapes but rich cultural heritage, vibrant cities, and a thriving economy. Leeds and West Yorkshire’s diverse and growing workforce play a central role in that unique Yorkshire offer.

Thousands of delegates attended UKREiiF in Leeds last weekThousands of delegates attended UKREiiF in Leeds last week
Thousands of delegates attended UKREiiF in Leeds last week

We know the real estate sector, and our private and public partners play a critical role in our city's growth and development. You will not find a more inclusive, ambitious and collaborative city than Leeds.

With the city now boasting a record number of cranes on the skyline, we remain committed to working closely with industry leaders to attract more good jobs to Leeds. Across the three days we talked about our ambitious and people focused development and regeneration programme. This coupled with our £1.5 billion Innovation Arc plans for a science park in the city centre bringing together the universities, hospital redevelopment and technology sector were very warmly received.

This year, UKREiiF placed even more emphasis on equality and diversity, and this was clear as it felt like the most diverse property conference we have ever attended.

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A report by ARUP showed that the local economic benefit from the event hit £5.5m in 2022, but with the success of this years event, we’re sure this number will increase dramatically. The event has had a positive impact on our visitor economy, with bars, restaurants and hotels across the city buzzing with delegates experiencing and enjoying the city.

UKREiiF has proved to be a resounding success, leaving a lasting impact on all delegates that attended, including ourselves. The brilliance and breadth of work we have going on up and down the country, especially across Yorkshire is astounding.

We are delighted that the event will return to the city in 2024 and look forward to working with the organisers, Built Environment Network to bring even more to the table, and build on the enormous success of this year’s event.

Tom Riordan is Leeds City Council chief executive and James Lewis is the council’s leader