18 Mar 2015
Last week I joined with Invest Glasgow and the City Marketing Bureau in making a pitch for Glasgow at the MIPIM show in France. MIPIM is one of Reed Elsevier’s products (the All Energy Conference in Glasgow in May is another) and brings together over 20,000 delegates from the world’s property development and investment market to do business over four days of exhibitions, events and networking.
Virtually every large city in Europe is making its case for attracting investment mostly in physical development along with many cities from much further afield. It’s an excellent opportunity to test the offer your city has against some very sophisticated competition. It doesn’t take long to appreciate that every city is drawing on the same range of features to make their case – size, growth, skills, sectoral strengths, quality of life, etc. Every city is attempting to show just how advanced its strategy for growth is and therefore how attractive it will be for investors.
At MIPIM investment in office development, retail, innovation hubs, housing and leisure dominate rather than the end-user company investment that Scottish Development International courts so professionally across the globe. That’s why cities are so prominent because it’s in cities that so much of the physical investment is now taking place.
This is investment in the hotels, housing, offices, research facilities and shops that help a city to grow, attract people to stay and in turn increase the chances that companies will choose your city as a place to become established.
In recent years Scottish cities have been less prominent at MIPIM - although Glasgow increased its presence this year to reflect the success of the City Deal, and the Scottish Cities Alliance took out space to represent its seven member cities.
I believe we could and should do more at MIPIM and perhaps at some of MIPIM’s sister shows like MIPIM UK or MIPIM Asia. These events are where cities demonstrate their own confidence in their future and in their strategies for growth.
There is virtually no city amongst Glasgow’s competitors for investment that isn’t there and isn’t making every effort to present its best case. English cities - and Manchester in particular - were noticeably more aggressive than Scottish cities. So too are those from Scandinavia, Germany and France.
Glasgow has a very powerful story to tell. We have the skills base, we have some distinctive sectoral strengths and we have a track record in innovation such as the Future Cities Demonstrator and industrial centres of excellence that we can pitch. We have a solid pipeline of existing investor interest- the expansion of Buchanan Galleries, a new portfolio of Grade A office space, a steady flow of hotel development and a boom in student accommodation.
We also have several sites where development for a growing economy and population are being encouraged – at Sighthill with the new mixed use master plan for the regeneration of the district that was proposed for an athletes village for the Youth Olympics, the expansion of development all across the East End in support of the Clyde Gateway’s vision post Commonwealth Games, a second phase of the International Financial Services District at the Broomielaw and the next phases of development of the Clyde Waterfront to name but a few. Throw in the catalytic impact of the City Deal and we have much to be confident about.
Here at the Chamber we will be a willing partner in helping build Glasgow’s profile through MIPIM and other similar events. I know, not least from comments during MIPIM, that there are several members who would be equally keen to contribute.