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Key moment to showcase City Region's world-class developments

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24 Mar 2017

Last week, the Leeds City Region took its largest ever delegation to MIPIM, the world’s premier property investment forum.

Two years ago our MIPIM sponsors numbered under 20; this year it was 33. This overwhelming show of support from a host of leading organisations from across Leeds City Region is extremely pleasing.

Importantly, what this level of engagement further emphasises is the true scale of buy-in and ‘can-do’ attitude from the business community into what we and others are striving to achieve across Leeds City Region from both property and wider economic growth perspectives.

Reflecting on MIPIM, the global gathering of investors, developers and occupiers, Leeds City Region undoubtedly had an excellent event and we continue to see our profile, momentum and position on the global stage being positively built year-on-year by attending this important event.

MIPIM has been about showcasing Leeds City Region and its component parts on the international stage: our scale, drivers for growth, key opportunities and priorities.

The forum certainly isn’t the jamboree it is painted to be by some members of the Press. The number of our party who left hoarse and with sore wrists from the amount of handshaking carried out during the week, both at Leeds City Region’s stand and across the expo at events, receptions and through valuable networking, is testament to this.

But it would be remiss of me not to emphasise that it’s vital that we continue to capitalise on the legacy opportunities that events such as MIPIM give us.

It was pleasing to speak to the business colleagues who joined us from across Leeds City Region about the positive momentum that we’re building as a region. There was a deep sense of not only our confidence but also our capability.

As I said while launching leading UK real estate adviser GVA’s Leeds City Region Confidence Yields Growth report at MIPIM, Leeds City Region has a key “window of opportunity” to cement its position as one of the world’s most competitive locations for trade and investment.

It was especially encouraging, given the diverse nature of our City Region economy, to see constructive collaboration come to the fore at MIPIM.

The towns and cities that make up Leeds City Region joined forces, and will continue to do so, to emphasise to the global investment market that we are stronger collectively and that this partnership working is the genuine article.

MIPIM has also given us a phenomenal opportunity to focus on our key drivers for growth as well as celebrate and shine a light on the world-class developments that have been constructed in recent months.

It was fantastic to see Victoria Gate in Leeds being named as the Best Shopping Centre in the World at MIPIM 2017, having been opened just five months. The development, spearheaded by Hammerson, beat off strong global competition and cemented the City Region’s position as an international retail centre of excellence.

The scale of transport infrastructure taking place across the City Region – which includes the £1bn transport funding now being invested by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority in schemes across West Yorkshire and York – was also highlighted.

Schemes such as HS2, York Central Station, Bradford’s Forster Square and Interchange train stations, strategic new stations at White Rose Office Park, Thorpe Park and Leeds Bradford International Airport Parkway, along with schemes such as Thorpe Park and Five Towns in Wakefield, plus the massive potential that city centre regeneration such as the South Bank area of Leeds – Europe’s biggest regeneration site – offers all captured the imagination.

As delegates who engaged with us at MIPIM discovered, all these exciting initiatives, coupled with the continuing strength of our commercial property market, means Leeds City Region provides unparalleled opportunities for inward investors and is now experiencing its fastest pace of development for decades.

It’s now vital our MIPIM legacy moves the extremely fruitful conversations the delegation experienced from menu to meal – in terms of new investment, jobs and growth in our region. I believe this will happen. It will happen not only because the Leeds City Region is hungry for growth but also because with a £64.6bn economy it has the right to dine at both the national and international top tables.