‘Urbanity’ sets the tone for Bruntwood at MIPIM 2018
Bruntwood is set to promote the North of England and Midlands at MIPIM, as it confirms the property group has more than £1bn of assets under ownership across Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham and a development pipeline of £1.4bn.
The group, founded over 40 years ago, will be heading to the world’s largest property convention this week on the back of another landmark year for the development company. Its latest Leeds development, Platform, is now 75% let or under offer, six month post practical completion.
Talking of Bruntwood’s MIPIM involvement, chief executive Chris Oglesby said: “The urban renewal we see happening across the North West, Yorkshire and Midlands is led by its core cities. In 2017 it was gratifying to see the Department for International Trade push all that’s ‘Great’ about investing in this country. Clearly Brexit is out there and everyone at Bruntwood is determined to play our part, demonstrating that Britain remains open for business and a world-class centre for R&D in life science and tech in particular.
“At the same time, it’s important not to be distracted by the EU issue. Our organisation is completely focused on the future of our great cities and what it takes to make them even greater. So the theme of ‘Urbanity’ at this year’s MIPIM is something we welcome. Quite correctly, it poses questions such as how cities cope in a sustainable way with rising demands on transport networks, and how we serve an aging population living in cities?”
In the 12 months since MIPIM 2017, Bruntwood launched the 52,000 sq ft Neo in the heart of Manchester city centre and the 70,000 sq ft Bright Building at Manchester Science Park. It also started enabling works for two new commercial buildings at Circle Square, which will provide the city centre with a new 2.4m sq ft neighbourhood, along with the largest green space in the city in a generation, and launched Hatch its new retail and leisure pop-up destination.
The last year was also marked by the completion of a number of significant developments including: the 110,000 sq ft Cornerblock located in the heart of Birmingham’s Colmore Business District; and the 120,000 sq ft refurbishment in Leeds, Platform, which occupies a prime location above the city’s railway station.
Speaking to TheBusinessDesk.com, Leeds director Craig Burrow said that legals were being completed for a new legal/professional firm to move into Platform; introducing a new firm to the region, which will bring up to 75 staff members to the building. Burrow said: “We are always also looking to do more in this region. We may look at things other than the city centre, too. I think the market is hot at the moment; it certainly feels positive.”
He added that several high profile office moves, including PWC and Addleshaw Goddard, had provided more old stock becoming available but there was a scarcity of refurbished product. Burrow added: “People haven’t been getting on with speculative schemes.”
Burrow said that office space around the city and the wider region needed to offer flexibility for businesses to scale-up and down. He will be heading to MIPIM this week for the fourth year in a row and added: “The Leeds City Region has a joined up approach. We all need to be talking about the city region’s cities; understanding there is a regional approach.
“And with HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail it seems we have got that voice. The new Leeds station master plan is, I believe, a truly ambitious and game-changing approach and the business community in Leeds needs to support that. Investors looking to this region will be able to see the level of ambition and something like the master plan will be attractive to them; providing opportunities that are once in a generation.”
The science and technology sector remains key to Bruntwood’s aspirations for driving economic growth in the UK regions. Oglesby added: “We think businesses based on R&D, innovation or high value intellectual property are where the UK truly excels. That’s what it says in the UK government’s Industrial Strategy and that’s an outlook we share. In the past 12 months we have redoubled our commitment to enabling growth in knowledge-intensive industries. That’s happening through the both provision of world-class physical facilities and support of equally-important partnerships between civic, academic, clinical and private sector organisations.”
In the second half of 2018, construction work is expected to begin on the £60m expansion of the Citylabs campus. A joint venture with Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), Citylabs 2.0 and 3.0 will provide both Manchester and the UK with the world-class infrastructure for a precision medicine centre of excellence.