The event would typically have been held during the international property conference at MIPIM in Cannes, but the pandemic has seen that postponed to a shorter two day event in September
Huge property investment opportunities were showcased at the first online Derby City Embassy. Over 200 delegates logged on for the session which featured insights from two of the city’s biggest recent investors – Cale Street and St James Securities.
The event would typically have been held during the international property conference at MIPIM in Cannes, but the pandemic has seen that postponed to a shorter two day event in September, before returning to normal next spring.
Embassy host John Forkin, the managing director of Marketing Derby, started the event quoting from two influential reports which predict a strong economic recovery for the city post-pandemic.
The PwC-Demos Good Growth for Cities study ranked Derby as a top 10 city for post-Covid economic recovery, while, a UK Powerhouse report predicted its gross would rise quicker than any other East Midlands city.
Mr Forkin said: The strength of Derby is measured by the strength of our economy – and Derby punches above its economic weight. These studies show that others believe that too. Pulled together, this forms the basis of our pitch to investors and the wider world as to why Derby is the place to invest.
Coun Matthew Holmes shared the plan for the city’s recovery, which is based on three key elements: confidence, diversification and decarbonisation. He explained how Derby had attracted £267 million of public investment to support key local projects, including Becketwell and SmartParc, which would leverage a further £750 million of private sector cash.
Coun Holmes said: We are big believers in the power of public-private collaboration. As the local authority we are happy to lead from the front but we will always work in collaboration with business and investors.
Many of these projects are included in a recently published online Investment Prospectus, which showcases 17 major investment opportunities.
The prospectus lists ongoing projects, shovel-ready schemes and pipeline of developments that have the potential to give the local economy a major boost.
Derby received a vote of confidence during the pandemic when major investors reaffirmed their commitment to ploughing almost half a billion pounds into key schemes in the city.
Investors included Cale Street – the London-based Kuwait Investment Fund – which took full ownership of the Derbion shopping centre from Intu last year, where it has pledged further investment.
Ken Ford, an advisor to Cale Street, explained how the fund was drawn to Derby because of its “macro fundamentals”, such as location, infrastructure and its highly-skilled and highly-paid population. But he also said the city’s wider regeneration “gave us confidence”, adding “what’s good for Derby, is good for Derbion”.
The Embassy also heard from Paul Morris, director at St James Securities, the developer behind the £200 million Becketwell regeneration scheme.
He explained how the scheme would create a new “beating heart” in the city centre, built on the ethos of “work, live and play”.
He said: This is how city centres are having to evolve – and it is an ethos at the heart of our vision for the site. He added that work on the first phase was due to start soon, marking a return of cranes on Derby’s skyline.
Derby City Council’s new director of city development and growth David Fletcher explained how it was creating a framework for change, designed to help meet evolving consumer behaviours and working habits, boost the city’s cultural offer, encourage city living, improve mobility and make it greener, while bringing in new industries and creating jobs.
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