MIPIM 2017: Midlands Engine set to roar

By Paul Norman - Monday, March 13, 2017 9:00

MIPIM comes at a time when confidence is high in the Midlands. Having ticked along quietly for a number of years there are signs that the property and investment market in the region could be about to move up through the gears. The Midlands Engine has started to purr and could be set to roar at MIPIM, writes Mat Jones, Turley, office director, Birmingham.

This year’s trip to the beautiful scenery of Cannes will be particularly exciting for those of us involved with major development work in the Midlands as it follows only a couple of weeks on from Royal Assent for HS2 Phase 1 between London and Birmingham.

This news has stimulated a renewed impetus and sense of belief in the long-term prospects of the property and investment markets in the Midlands, especially around Greater Birmingham, which will benefit from the arrival of two new high speed stations at Arden Cross and Curzon by around 2026.

With the development of these new stations, and their associated investment in new infrastructure, there is now a clear potential for ‘supergrowth’ within the region which stands to benefit a range of property sectors. The West Midlands Combined Authority, through its Strategic Economic Plan published in summer 2016, has promised to create 500,000 new jobs by 2030 including at least 100,000 through HS2.

This represents a major opportunity that is being grasped by landowners, investors, and developers ahead of HS2’s delivery and there is already much evidence of progress being made on the ground through projects such as Paradise (Hermes/Argent and Birmingham City Council) and Arena Central (Miller Developments).

Positive progress is also being made at other key growth locations, including those partly stimulated by HS2, such as at the UK Central Hub in Solihull, and with the emergence of major regeneration schemes such as Smithfield in Birmingham City Centre.

These are substantial projects with momentum that have attracted wide interest. They are due for phased delivery over the next decade and will ensure that the Government’s key objective of rebalancing of the UK economy can take a major step forward.

The region has the prospect of further financial backing and devolution of powers from central Government to the Combined Authority and West Midlands Mayor, following the election in May. Combining this with a tangible sense of investment appetite in the Greater Birmingham market from national and international investors, the Midlands UK pavilion at MIPIM should prove very popular, helped by its beachside location.

The Midlands UK delegation is the largest of its kind to represent the UK at this year’s event. It features 10 LEP areas and involves more than 50 private and public sector partners. The pavilion will showcase more than £14bn worth of projects and investment sites.

Mat Jones, Turley, office director, Birmingham

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