Partnerships connecting the private and public sector are vital if the West Midlands region is to continue thriving on the world stage of investment and development, according to Mick Laverty, chief executive of Advantage West Midlands.
Progress in a string of high-profile multi-million pound regeneration projects is a clear signal that the West Midlands is a world class region in which to invest, work and live, Mr Laverty told the MIPIM property convention in Cannes.
The new chief executive of AWM addressed an audience of around 150 influential property investment figures from the public and private sector.
Mr Laverty said: "There are many exciting regeneration projects under way across the West Midlands region which are giving us a great platform to build on for the future.
"Developers are investing into the region and it's up to all of us in the public sector to work in partnership to make the most of that investment. By building relationships, we're building a better future for the West Midlands."
Mr Laverty said that Advantage West Midlands had the key priority of working with partners to deliver the West Midlands Economic Strategy, which had identified that the region had an output gap of £10 billion compared to the UK average. The challenge is to close the gap - equivalent to £2,000 for every man, woman and child in the region, every year.
The physical regeneration of sites and buildings across the region, attracting the right type of high value added jobs would help close the output gap - and Advantage West Midlands and its private and public sector partners were at MIPIM 2008 to sell the region and showcase its unique mix of showcase of urban and rural opportunities.
Mr Laverty said: "We are, collectively, here as 'Team West Midlands' making contacts that lead to discussions; discussions that lead to deals; deals that lead to new investments; and investments that lead to us achieving the aims of the region's Economic Strategy - the focus of all AWM's activity.
"In the West Midlands executive lounge opposite the Festival des Palais exhibition hall, there are over 20 events taking place this week, bringing together investors, developers and agents to get the ball rolling on future development opportunities."
Four projects showcased by AWM at MIPIM last year had past key milestones in the past 12 months.
At Chatterley Valley in North Staffordshire, a former ironworks extending over 250 acres, the agency and its joint landowner,
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, selected Gazeley as the 'Blue Planet' concept that will not only create 500 new jobs, but will also become one of the greenest business and logistics parks in the world.
At Bilston Urban Village, Wolverhampton, three developers are about to be short-listed to bring forward the first phase of the 100-acre mixed use, modern urban community scheme on the edge of Wolverhampton.
And at the i54 business park, a 91-hectare site at Wobaston Road, Wolverhampton, a tender selection competition has been launched to appoint a developer for phase one of the scheme by the end of this summer.
Mr Laverty said that AWM's heavyweight signature projects at Ansty, in Coventry and New Street and East-side in Birmingham also demonstrated that the region was enjoying a surge of regeneration activity.
He said: "At Ansty, £45 million worth of infrastructure work includes a dual carriageway access and an upgrade to junction 2 of the M6.
"The vision is to create an R&D Park - attracting 5,000 high quality jobs - just the sort of jobs we need to close the output gap. Already Ericsson has signed up to move in early in 2009 with the first 650 jobs. And we are already talking to Tata about an automotive R&D facility and other equally impressive prospective tenants.
"Advantage West Midlands £100 million contribution into the Gateway Plus scheme at New Street Station is the largest single investment by any regional development agency ever.
"Our £100 million ensured we didn't miss a once in a lifetime opportunity to redevelop New Street Station and turn a transport scheme into a transport and regeneration scheme that will improve one of our key gateways and help us sell Birmingham and the region.
"And at Eastside we are working in part-nership with Birmingham City Council and are investing £68 million in this ten year project to transform the east side of Birmingham City centre with a new City Park, a Learning and Leisure Quarter and Ventureast (now renamed Eastside Locks), a mixed use technology park.