An unprecedented amount of development opportunities from across the region are set to be showcased to the world when the property fraternity decamps to the south of France next month.
Both Birmingham and Coventry will lead significant delegations from the public and private sector to MIPIM at Cannes where both cities will be keen to attract interest in some of the multi-million pounds schemes currently planned for both cities.
Business Birmingham, the city’s inward investment programme operated by Marketing Birmingham, is managing the city’s presence that will be supported by a delegation of 18 major companies.
Coun Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “In these economically challenging times, cities are competing for investment more fiercely than ever before.
"By truly understanding the pressures on investors and what they need to achieve a competitive return on their investment, Birmingham is attracting attention.
“From major public/private sector collaboration on regeneration projects, such as Icknield Port Loop and the clarity of the city’s development pipeline through the Big City Plan; to the creation of industry clusters and support for entrepreneurs through the city centre Enterprise Zone.
“Birmingham can demonstrate its commitment to creating the physical and economic environment needed for long term, sustainable growth.”
The city’s events programme involves 14 events and nearly 20 speakers across the four-day property show. A number of private sector partners are participating in the programme, designed to engage developers and companies looking to invest in the city.
Events range from discussions of Birmingham’s enterprise zone and the regeneration it is expected to unlock; to the impact of the approved high speed rail link to the capital and airport runway extension – which will boost Birmingham’s credentials as a location for European headquarters.
"Developments such as Paradise Circus as well as an in-depth look at Birmingham’s growing visitor economy and its success in attracting major new hotel developments to the area will also be on the agenda.
Coun Whitby added: “The event programme has been designed to give potential investors an insight into the vision, developments and plans that are fuelling Birmingham’s growing profile as an international business destination.
‘‘There is a formidable amount of activity happening in Birmingham right now to excite and attract investors; the most ambitious multi-billion pound package of transport investment the city has ever seen, the creation of Europe’s largest public library, and the UK’s only major city centre enterprise zone – which is driving forward some of the country’s most exciting regeneration schemes.”
A major delegation from Coventry will also be heading over to the show – backed by partners including Drivers Jonas Deloitte and West Midlands transport authority Centro – and while the city is no stranger to the event, the stakes have never been higher according to Martin Reeves, chief executive of Coventry City Council.
He said: “I would argue that even though we have been going to MIPIM for the past 19 years, this is potentially our most important year ever.
"Over the years we have been able to sell big individual development projects but the timing this year means we are looking at the Friargate scheme around the railway station, the Barberry development at the old Royal Mail sorting office and the Coventry Gateway as well as the enterprise zone around the airport where we are working with Sir Peter Rigby and the JLR site at Whitley, all of which we think could amount to up to 15,000 jobs.
“These are big projects at differing stages but we want to go to MIPIM and talk about the major improvements to our public realm and the major scale opportunities for this city.
"We have been through tough economic times but these are tangible opportunities that are happening and the next six to nine months are absolutely crucial for the city.”
Mr Reeves believes the fact that so many big names have signed up to partner Coventry and Birmingham is testament to the fact that people are beginning to emerge from their shells again after a tough couple of years.
“There are developers, agents and financiers working on developments and looking at UK cities for opportunities,” he said. “For me it’s about being practical.
"Deliver schemes to the market in sizeable chunks while saying we have an overall plan to deliver the infrastructure so that we can challenge both nationally and internationally.’’
A total of 14 companies and organisations will be attending the event, and Coventry will he hosting a string of events to highlight opportunities.
Peter Thorne, partner at Wragge & Co, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Coventry Partnership at MIPIM 2012 to support its initiatives to create a vibrant city centre, providing new opportunities and high quality amenities.
“We have worked with the city for several years and have been impressed by the leadership and positive initiatives shown.
"One of those initiatives has been the development of its profile at MIPIM to market, to a global audience what it has to offer. We have been impressed by the way they promote the opportunities the city provides.’’