Cushman & Wakefield published the 22nd edition of its annual survey on Europe’s major business cities today, which saw Manchester retain its position as the UK’s ‘second city’ after London.
In total 501 companies were surveyed from nine European countries and whilst Manchester has slipped slightly in some of the categories, it appears to be firmly reinforcing its position as a contender on a European level. Manchester rose four places in terms of languages spoken in the city, which together with its excellent working environment for employees and internal transport links and infrastructure means that international businesses are keen to expand in to the city.
Tony Bray, head of Cushman & Wakefield’s Manchester office, says: “Against the backdrop of the harsh economic climate Manchester’s claim to be considered at the top table of European cities is justified particularly given the city’s reputation for having access to a skilled, multi lingual workforce and a quality living environment.”
Mr Bray adds: “When you consider that the majority of top ten cities were capital cities, Manchester has fared incredibly well and we should be proud of our achievements. Manchester is set for an exciting future with significant development at MediaCityUK, Airport City, Sports City and NOMA. Speculative development is due to start with Argent/ GMPVF’s St Peter’s Sq anticipated on site early 2012. Our additional research on investment levels shows a significant increase in activity on the year to date, both from UK institutional investors and property companies and interestingly from international investors, such as Europa Capital, who see the attraction of the city. No other UK city can boast such activity and as we continue to actively improve our offering, it serves to reinforce our belief that Manchester is a good place to do business.”
Tim Newns, chief executive of MIDAS, says: “It is clear that commercially, Manchester is now firmly within the elite group of European cities, the majority of which are capital cities such as Geneva and Stockholm. The city has continued to improve its profile in areas such as access to language speakers; quality of life and green credentials; and internal transport links. The only area where Manchester’s rank has suffered somewhat is the availability of office space and in this case, due to an almost record year for office uptake last year, Manchester has become a victim of its own success in this category.”
Mr Newns continues: “This is why the City Region’s pro-active approach to continuing large-scale office and wider employment site development through initiatives such as Evergreen, Regional Growth Fund and GMPVF interventions is key to driving growth and attracting investment.”
Mike Emmerich, chief executive of New Economy, adds: “It’s disappointing that Manchester’s competitiveness as a business location is being negatively affected by national issues like taxes and incentives – we’re doing everything in our power to overcome issues like this. New Economy is committed to the ongoing development of a competitive and attractive market offer, working in partnership with the Government to make Manchester a location of choice. In the last week we have seen the BBC’s announcement of a further major move of staff to Media City and the development of a £50m Graphene hub: testament to the strength of Manchester’s offer. Greater Manchester has plenty of exciting projects in the pipeline such as Airport City, the Chapel Street redevelopment in Salford and the Muse developments project at Ashton Moss. We need to ensure that we maximise their potential and continue to maintain Manchester’s international status.”
A copy of the full report can be downloaded from www.europeancitiesmonitor.eu.