Manchester has today been named City of the Year in the inaugural Estates Gazette/MIPIM UK Awards for its success in delivering major regeneration projects and attracting international investment.
The award, which was presented at the UK version of the international property and development showcase MIPIM in London on Thursday 16 October, highlights Manchester’s thriving development scene.
Damian Wild, editor of Estates Gazette, said: “Manchester was recognised for its success in attracting international investors, its pragmatism in delivering capital projects and its vibrant occupier market. Under the leadership of Sir Howard Bernstein and Sir Richard Leese it sets the standards by which all UK cities are judged.”
Examples of international investment include the key role which the Beijing Construction Engineering Group is playing in the £800m Airport City project and the city’s constructive relationship with Abu Dhabi United Group, the privately-owned investment company which also owns Manchester City FC, which has this year seen the announcement of Manchester LIfe, a major new regeneration partnership.
Manchester is Britain’s fastest-growing city and the amount of ongoing and forthcoming construction work going on around the city is unprecedented since the 1990s.
This ranges from significant transport improvement work to expand the city’s Metrolink light rail system and major rail and bus improvements through the Northern Hub project and Cross City Bus Corridor respectively to the regeneration of NOMA, First Street (including the new HOME arts complex) and St Peter’s Square and the city’s Civic Quarter.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester has always been an ambitious, can-do city, and we are grateful that this approach has been recognised by experts within the commercial property industry. While many investors are beginning to find themselves being priced out of London they are looking elsewhere and Manchester has established itself as an attractive option.
“This success is all about Manchester’s established track record of the private and public sector working together constructively and wouldn’t be possible without this pragmatic approach and partners who make things happen.
“We believe we are a city which understands its own strengths and has a strategy to build on assets such as our cutting edge research and creative and digital sectors as well as continuing to attract investment in more traditional sectors such as housing and commercial development.
“As the city devolution debate continues, we will keep pressing the case that we could do even more to attract investment and jobs – helping to complement London and strengthen the national economy – with greater freedoms to create the conditions for further growth. Greater Manchester’s economy is larger than that of Wales and yet we are hampered by a devolution deficit. While this award is hugely welcome, it does not mean there isn’t much more we could do.”
Lynda Shillaw, Property CEO at Manchester Airports Group said: “Manchester is a major economy within the UK with a great talent pool and it is more affordable than London so it is the perfect location for foreign companies looking to test the UK market.
“Developments such as our 5m sq ft Airport City scheme have a strong international appeal.
“Manchester has a rich property offering and provides a great environment for developers. investors and occupiers to bring forward schemes. This award is testament to the great work of the City with its property and business communities.”
Chris Oglesby, Chief Executive of Bruntwood, said: “Manchester remains the fastest growing city in the UK and this success to attract investment and drive development is testament to the city council’s approach of working closely and constructively with the private sector to achieve common goals.”
Michael Ingall, chief executive of Allied London, said: “Manchester is a city with the ambition to match its potential.
“Working together with Manchester City Council we were able to deliver one of the most dynamic regeneration projects seen in the UK, the multi-award winning Spinningfields.
“But the city is always moving forward. Last year, in one of the finest examples of public and private sector collaboration, we were able to sign a development partnership with the City Council to bring back to life ITV’s 13.5 acre Quay Street complex.
“We’re now embarking on the creation of St Johns – a new community distinguished by its unique cultural history and diverse mix of inhabitants. It’s ambitious projects like this that show why Manchester could be the only possible winner of this award.”