News - 12 June 2014

Property Summit Woos Investors who could help Derby to prosper

PRIME Minister David Cameron once told delegates at a Liverpool business conference that the UK “must innovate, design, manufacture and export … like Derby”.

That line had a resonance at yesterday’s Derby Property Summit which attracted an audience of investors and property professionals from far and wide. The plan was to woo them with what our city has to offer.

National and international property professionals converged on the iPro Stadium for the event, designed to help trigger investment in Derby.

Some 250 people, who own, manage or act as agents on billions of pounds’ worth of property, attended the event.

Also in attendance were senior figures who are considering Derby as a place to set up business premises, creating jobs and generating wealth for the area.

Yesterday’s showcase was all about selling the idea of the city to these people, those with the backing and authority to loosen purse strings.

Hosted by BBC business and finance broadcaster Declan Curry, the theme for this year’s summit was how Derby can attract those investors fed up with the soaring price of land and property in the capital.

It is a fact of commercial life that investment gravitates towards London.

Marketing Derby, the organisation set up to sell the city, is tasked with making sure it is on the radar of national business and property professionals looking to invest beyond the M25.

It is the driving force behind the organisation of the Derby Property Summit. Around a quarter of those at the event were visiting the city specifically for the summit.

A key part of the message echoed the Prime Minister’s observation that Derby is a capital for innovation, with firms such as Rolls-Royce, Bombardier and Toyota.

Yesterday was also about showing potential investors that Derby City Council and the business community represent a united front in their attempts to make the city a more pleasant and prosperous place to be.

City council chief executive Adam Wilkinson cited the authority’s regeneration strategy as being vital to the development of the city.

Put together five years ago, it includes the council working more closely with global players such as Rolls-Royce, matching the £1 billion of investment the city has already attracted and delivering its £50 million leisure and public realm strategy.

Mr Wilkinson said: “The Derby Arena was a statement of intent. We had a very tired leisure stock and we could have refurbished it but thought that if you want to be a city that’s going places and is prosperous then we had to be a bit more ambitious.”

He spoke of the issues surrounding the Assembly Rooms and the success being experienced by projects such as the magistrates’ court redevelopment and Sadler Bridge Studios at the bottom of Sadler Gate. Both projects – part of the Connect Derby project – are proving popular with occupiers.

One of the speakers from beyond the city limits was Andrew Carter, deputy chief executive of Centre for Cities, an organisation that studies how cities evolve.

He said: “The population of Derby is growing and has been growing considerably for the last decade or so.

“What sets it apart is this dominance of advanced manufacturing that gives it an advantage.”

Mr Carter featured in a panel discussion, chaired by Declan Curry about the renaissance of city-centre housing. Also involved was construction consultant Ken Carter; Marc Roberts, a director at PwC in the East Midlands; and Dave Bullock, managing director of Compendium Living, which is behind the £100 million redevelopment of Castleward.

Mr Roberts said: “There are opportunities for investors. In Derby, only 1% of the residential lettings market is owned by institutional investors so the opportunities for them are vast.

“They are starting to look further afield but are still very cautious.”

Minister for Cities Greg Clark sent a video presentation recorded for the event.

He said: “We are helping to support locations like Derby to fulfil their economic potential and the people who know best what’s important for the people of Derby and Derbyshire are the people who live here, work here and love the place.”

Mr Clark spoke about the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership D2N2 bidding for a share of £2 billion of Government cash to support business growth in the area.

He said it was a “really strong bid” and an announcement would be made soon.

Source: Derby Telegraph

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