Birmingham’s future revealed at MIPIM

With MIPIM 2012 now over, civic and business leaders from across the city are  unanimous about the success of this year’s event.

Birmingham canals, a strong selling point for the cityFrom ambitious plans to create a new waterside quarter at Icknield Port Loop; through to major regeneration at Paradise Circus; a game-changing City Centre Enterprise Zone; and unprecedented levels of investment in the city’s transport infrastructure, Birmingham was showcased as a city with ambition and opportunity.

The world’s largest architectural firm, Gensler, announced that it intends to establish an office in Birmingham as the first step in a major UK expansion plan.

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Mike Whitby, commented: “Both the quality and quantity of business negotiations taking place at MIPIM highlighted that Birmingham is leading the way in marketing itself as an international investment destination.  The fact that exploratory talks with Gensler earlier this year were being finalised on the Birmingham stand goes a long way to demonstrating how the city is raising its game and delivering on its positioning.

“MIPIM remains a highly competitive environment, but Birmingham demonstrated itself as a major player through its robust programme of events, enviable range of partners and speakers, and impressive scope of current and future developments – all of which attracted the attention of keen investors focused on significant new opportunities.”

Birmingham’s delegation included leading property and construction companies such as Argent, Nikal, British Waterways, GVA, Carillion, Willmott Dixon, Glenn Howells Architects and Hines & Moorfield – all of whom contributed to the event’s positive outcome.

Birmingham City Council, the Homes & Communities Agency and British Waterways have established the Icknield Port Loop Partnership to deliver a sustainable, mixed-use waterside neighbourhood close to the heart of the city. Stuart Mills, Property Director at British Waterways on behalf of IPL Partnership, took part in an event on Birmingham’s stand at MIPIM to launch the project to investors. He commented: “What Birmingham has got right on so many levels is effective planning through the city’s 20-year vision, the Big City Plan. For many years now, the city has understood and embraced the need for developments that drive economic success, maximize social and cultural engagement and adhere to the green agenda.  Brindleyplace and the vibrant Mailbox development, both mixed-use estates, continue to move from strength to strength. For the future, the creation of a high-quality new waterside quarter at Icknield Port Loop, the radical transformation of Paradise Circus, and the state-of-the-art new Library of Birmingham all further demonstrate how Birmingham’s holistic approach to development and regeneration is reaping dividends.”

Prevailing economic conditions meant that the launch of Birmingham’s Sovereign Wealth and Institutional Funders Investment Prospectus garnered significant interest from delegates. With an acknowledgement that sovereign wealth funds are uniquely placed with the ability to support many of the city’s longer-term developments, the prospectus will help to develop further the relationships Birmingham has already forged with overseas funds, and leverage this profile to generate a pipeline of finance for the developments emerging across the city.

Gary Taylor, Founding Member of Altitude Real Estate, said: “The size and scope of projects contributing to Birmingham’s renaissance certainly served to attract potential investors. The city’s Eastside and Paradise Circus projects are just two of many opportunities to offer this, enabling Birmingham to provide institutional funds with an opportunity that few cities globally can match.”

Over the course of the four-day event, the city hosted 15 events and engaged with over 900 delegates from across the world. Birmingham’s approach to marketing itself placed the city amongst the top five Tweeters at the show, and has so far achieved in excess of 100 pieces of positive global media coverage. Birmingham City Council’s Leader, Mike Whitby, and its Strategic Director of Development, Mark Barrow, also took part in the influential main conference programme, speaking at events in the Palais des Festivals to which more than 19,000 conference delegates were invited.

Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport and Chair of Marketing Birmingham, whose inward investment programme Business Birmingham led the city’s delegation, concluded: “Birmingham has truly upped its game at MIPIM; the city is extending its vision for growth, marketing itself as a bolder, more ambitious location for investors and thus securing impressive levels of finance. For me the levels of investment in the city’s transport infrastructure – from New Street Station to Midlands Metro and HS2 – have been a particularly important topic of discussion. Simply, a city will fail to attract businesses if it is not well connected – so the developments now underway at Birmingham Airport will help to bring this dynamic, vibrant city much closer to more of the world.”

Read Alan Clawley’s take on MIPIM here

Paradise Circus: Altitude Real Estate and Glenn Howells Architects discussed one of the city’s most strategically important redevelopment opportunities, comprising 1.7 million sq ft of retail, commercial and leisure space in the heart of the city’s business and financial district.

Icknield Port Loop: representatives from the Icknield Port Loop Partnership launched this opportunity to create a new waterside quarter in Birmingham and transform the edge of the city centre. The project will deliver around 1,000 new homes for families and bring innovative family housing typologies into the market.

UK Cities – Investing in Infrastructure for Growth: a discussion focused on the importance of infrastructure investment in delivering growth.  The leaders of the UK’s biggest cities (Birmingham included) set out their vision for their regions, and spoke about the projects that will determine their future success – from transport and housing to regeneration.

Global City, Local Heart – Totally Connected: speakers including delegates from Birmingham City Council and Centro announced a £1.3 billion investment in transport infrastructure over the next four years including: the £65 million runway extension at Birmingham Airport, £600 million Gateway redevelopment of New Street Station and £127 million extension of the Midland Metro tram system, in addition to the £17 billion HS2 line

Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone: Birmingham City Council and Altitude Real Estate looked at how Birmingham city centre’s innovative Enterprise Zone will help to unlock Birmingham’s potential for business growth and regeneration through 26 specified sites.