MIPIM 2017 could see millions of pounds of investment flood into Greater Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country according to local enterprise partnership (LEP) leaders.
LEPs from across the Midlands have joined forces with leaders from the public sector and business community to showcase their wares at this year’s four-day international property conference in Cannes - from 14 to 17 March.
Around 60 delegates in total will attend the four-day conference in France.
Why Greater Birmingham and Solihull economy is key
Steve Hollis, chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP (GBSLEP), said that having the biggest ever presence at MIPIM will really show the world the Midlands region means business.
The Midlands Pavilion brings together around 60 partners from Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire with those from the wider West Midlands in a real show of force.
Mr Hollis said: “The bottom line is our delegation needs to see lots of pounds and dollars coming into the Midlands.
“If you look at the scale of what others are doing, you can see we will have the biggest exhibition there of all the UK groups.
"What we really want to demonstrate is the sheer scale of the Midlands’ economy which is bigger than countries such as Denmark and Greece with a GVA of around £23 billion.
“With major ongoing developments such as Paradise and Arena Central in Birmingham, we’re very much looking forward to demonstrating that confidence to investors.
“We could secure investment very quickly, particularly if we’re dealing with a fund that has money which it has to invest.
"I think we are going to attract interest from both Europe and the Far East while the US is another big market for us.”
The delegation has plenty to showcase from just within Birmingham including the former Wholesale Markets site – which garnered much of the MIPIM headlines and attention last year – along with the aforementioned Paradise and Arena Central schemes.
But there is also HS2 and the planned revamp of the area in Eastside around the new terminal for the high-speed rail line.
Away from Birmingham itself, there is UK Central, which will house Solihull’s own HS2 station, and the town centre itself which is seeing a renaissance through the revamped Touchwood and Mell Square retail hubs.
Mr Hollis added: “UK Central is going to be a huge investment due to the nature of its location next to the airport and NEC while Solihull itself is a prime location on the motorway network.
“Where else in Europe are you going to have two high-speed railway station in such close proximity?
“To investors, location is everything.”
How the Black Country offers a complete package
Tom Westley, lead for the enterprise zone with Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said selling the area as a complete package, not just a place to work, would be vital in attracting new investment to region.
The Black Country LEP covers Wolverhampton, Dudley, Walsall and Sandwell.
Three major projects and themes will be among the key messages its delegates bring to MIPIM.
Around £1 billion of investment is being ploughed into Wolverhampton city including the i9 office block which is delivering around 50,000 sq ft of grade A new space.
“It’s been a great success and the university is also building a new training centre,” he said.
The Black Country is also keen to play on its capabilities in the high-value manufacturing sector with around 100 acres of available land at the i54 business park next to the M54 motorway.
The business park, which is just a few miles away from Wolverhampton city centre, secured a major feather in its cap when Jaguar Land Rover chose to base its new UK Engine Manufacturing Centre there, opening in 2014.
Mr Westley said: “That site has got great potential for people who want to bring original equipment manufacturers here so we’re really going to be promoting that.
“When these big companies have to make decisions about moving, they are looking right across Europe but we have that prepared now so we can say to people they won’t have to wait long for it.”
The third major area to promote will be the concept of the Black Country as a ‘city’ with its own sense of identity and place.
In addition to the focus on manufacturing, the team promoting the region is keen for the world to know about other reasons to invest there such as housing, education, a focus on skills and quality of life.
He added: “We don’t want young people to move out of the Black Country, we want them to be buying houses here and contributing to the community.
“We’re converting many of these old factories next to the canal network and we have a commitment to build 45,000 new homes over the next ten years.”