March 6, 2012
Machester's development and agenda for MIPIM
Economic growth is set to dominate the MIPIM agenda again in 2012. The fiscal environment within which we all operate will remain very challenging; public sector spending reductions are likely to be most keenly felt this year and business will not be immune, with secondary impacts affecting a number of sectors. In addition, factors such as the Eurozone crisis will exacerbate the situation and we face increasing competition from markets in China and the Far East which are growing in economic strength and competitiveness.
Those cities that have worked to strengthen their foundations over recent years will be best placed to respond effectively to these challenges; those which have rebalanced and diversified their economic base by focusing on key growth sectors. Manchester is a case in point, having seen unprecedented investment over the last decade which has been wisely deployed. New office and mixed use developments have grown alongside major infrastructure investment in both transport and digital connectivity, interventions which have responded well to the needs and demands of both residents and businesses. Airport City is a direct response to real market intelligence about what occupiers demand in terms of a skilled workforce and access to international markets (www.airportcity.co.uk).
Partnership working is critical. Manchester has recognised the strength and significance of its intellectual capital and the role of its higher education institutions in driving advanced manufacturing and supply chain capacity; enabling excellence in research and innovation to impact on the long term trading prospects for the city. The recent announcement that the University of Manchester (www.manchester.ac.uk) will become home to a national institute of graphene research is a prime example. The private sector too plays an integral part in Manchester’s development, with business leaders not only helping to shape the city’s strategic direction, but also assuming responsibility for the delivery of key operational functions.
Manchester has the maturity to challenge itself, alongside its European city peers, and at MIPIM Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Global Asset Management, will be interrogating research undertaken by the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Hamburg Lyon and Manchester into the changing drivers for investment. The city also continues to innovate, responding to the frailties of the existing debt market by establishing a new investment model that allows existing institutions to invest in economically viable and strategically important schemes within the area.
For Manchester, this year’s MIPIM will be about outlining some of the major projects that are being developed right now, including a new cultural hub at First Street (www.firststreetmanchester.com) and the Co-operative Group’s £800m NOMA development (www.noma53.com), as well as nurturing the relationships that will see more like them in the future.