North East geared to attract investors at MIPIM UK

The region is gearing up to sell itself at the prestigious MIPIM UK event, as commercial property specialist Chris Dobson reports

Gilbert Johnston Fiona Standfield, new director of Science City
Fiona Standfield, new director of Science City

Make a note – MIPIM UK, Olympia, London: October 15 to 17

What’s so special about an event unfolding more than 250 miles away from the region? The answer lies in the staggering team work by 20 representatives of the North East public and private sectors working together as one for this major property show to tell the powerful story of the region as the place to do business.

Not only is this the first large-scale bringing together of the region’s local authorities, the Local Enterprise Partnership, property developers, developments and professionals, MIPIM UK is a first for the UK as MIPIM has hitherto been only associated with the southern French resort of Cannes.

MIPIM, or given its full title Le Marché International des Professionnels de l’immobilier, is one of a number of European property events such as ExpoReal in Munich.

But it is MIPIM, Cannes, that takes the accolade for four days of networking, conferences and exhibits, every March, a gathering of the great and good in property in a great and glitzy location.

Bringing MIPIM to London is, as its webside declares, a “gathering of all professionals looking to close deals in the UK property market: investors, developers, local authorities, occupiers, hotel groups, agents and a year’s worth of business in three days”.

The first to spot the opportunity for the region was Catherine Walker, inward investment director at NewcastleGatesheadInitiative (NGI), who contacted Fergus Trim, development director at the Quorum business park.

Between them they brought the two principal sectors together so that the ‘Invest North East England’ stand has been funded across 20 participants.

The public sector is represented by the LA7 comprising Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, Newcastle City Council, Northumberland County Council, North Tyneside Council, South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership is the other representative of the public sector with the private sector being represented by developers Hanro, Highbridge, Quorum, Intu, Gentoo, Clouston, Carillion, UK Land Estates and Newcastle Science Central as well as professional advisers Knight Frank, Sanderson Weatherall and Ryder Architecture.

Other North East partners will also be welcome to use the stand as a base, joining in with the vital mission of selling the region.

The three-day event will attract people from a wide variety of real estate sectors which facilitates business between investors, corporate end-users, local authorities, hospitality professionals, industrial and logistics players and other real estate professionals.

There will be 100 exhibitors, conferences exploring national trends, networking with an estimated 3,000 ‘potential partners, all interested in the UK property market” and an Awards ceremony in “recognition of developers working to revitalise cities and towns across the UK”.

Catherine Walker said the Invest North East England stand will showcase the region with, on day one, a conference chaired by Mark Easton, home editor of BBC TV, with speakers Bryan Taylor, Balfour Beatty and Tom Carroll, director, corporate solutions, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

She said: “We hope to attract over 100 to the conference to discuss the issues of bringing back call centres to the UK and bringing more back-office operations to the region, ‘northshoring’. This promises to be lively and very interesting.

“We believe there are opportunities for service/contact centres to come back to the region. We have the right cost-base and the right employee profile. Our collective message is the North East is a good place to invest, we have the skills, a low cost base and we offer deliverability.”

This supports the arguments put forward by others actively supporting the regional pro-activity in respect of MIPIM UK.

Tim Evans, proprietary partner at Knight Frank, said: “It’s been an exciting and fulfilling journey in our region since establishing the office 20 years ago.

“The vibrant hard working people of the North East are the passion behind the continuing success of companies in the North East. MIPIM UK is a fantastic example of how all sectors come together for the good of the North East.”

Fiona Standfield, director of Newcastle Science City, said the project will be well represented at MIPIM.

Already recognised as a leading centre of urban innovation by the Future Cities Catapult, Science Central will bring together investors, businesses, entrepreneurs, students, scientists and citizens to collaborate, plan and develop solutions for tomorrow’s cities.

The development has also just been shortlisted for two MIPIM UK awards that will be presented at the event – Regeneration Project of the Year and Future Project Award.

The director said: “The Core, a 29,601 sq ft landmark building on Science Central opens for business this November, representing a key milestone in the progress of the development - one of the most innovative and inspiring city centre developments in Newcastle in a generation.

“By having a regional presence at MIPIM UK, we can showcase not only the benefits of investing in the wider North East region, but also the specific development opportunities that the 18-plot Science Central site presents.”

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