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MIPIM | The year that Manchester consolidates its success as a city region

Devolution, new neighbourhoods, and green spaces are set to be the hotly anticipated topics at the upcoming MIPIM, writes Thomas Pearson, head of real estate commercial at JMW Solicitors.

Every year we hold a breakfast roundtable with the region’s property leaders for a MIPIM briefing. This year, we gathered 15 real estate industry leaders at Manchester’s Dishoom, to cut through the noise that inevitably surrounds MIPIM and get to the heart of what will be this year’s most important topics.

It’s anticipated the Manchester MIPIM delegation will number around 1,500 individuals, a forceful indication of the importance of the event to those in the region’s real estate community. Key to our discussion was Manchester’s successful return to La Croisette in 2023 and the expectations for 2024.

What is on everyone’s minds for this year?

The race to get deals over the line

Regardless of the many informed opinions around the UK recession – from ‘it’s only a technical recession’ to ‘it’s weak and/or we’re already coming out of it’, twinned with those concerned that inflation will prove to be stickier than forecast – it’s no exaggeration to say those involved in the real estate industry want certainty, and fast.

Combining these two factors with the upcoming election and the inevitable uncertainty associated with a potential change of government, it was felt likely that MIPIM 2024 will reflect a strong appetite to get deals over the line sooner rather than later.

Emerging hotspots and new neighbourhoods

There is real positivity emanating from the many towns in the region. Oldham, Bury, and Rochdale are emerging from the shadow of the city of Manchester, and are pitching for accelerated inward investment to deliver on their vision of a network of thriving new neighbourhoods. Wigan is known as the £5bn borough – although it was acknowledged that the lack of a Metrolink needed to be rectified sooner rather than later, which led to general agreement that these hotspots need better transport connectivity.

Lots of opportunities but an equal number of challenges was the feeling around the table and an acknowledgement that more green spaces are wanted. “Greening the city” extends further than the city boundaries, in other words. In essence, if comprehensive transport links, improved housing provision, and general business growth can be delivered, it was felt that that these new neighbourhoods would attract a younger demographic prepared to move into them and, crucially, stay there, thereby contributing to their growth and economic prosperity.

It’s no secret that such towns offer greater profit opportunities, with lower land values and the potential for significant amounts of commercial floorspace, making them extremely attractive to investors and developers.

We need more devolved powers

Devolution plays a key role in stimulating our region’s economic activity, helping to drive inward investment through place-based policy decisions. The North West has not yet reached its full economic potential, with significant sums still being funnelled into London and the South East. The government needs to acknowledge that businesses are choosing to be increasingly decentralised away from London – more than 80% of FTSE 100 companies have a presence in Manchester – and devolve powers accordingly.

Is levelling up still a thing?

In February the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline outlined the government’s projected spend for the next 10 years on major projects, with £15.5bn of investment designated for the North West. According to Deloittes’ 2024 Manchester Crane Survey (covering Manchester and Salford), there is “a continuing healthy performance in the number of schemes being completed and under construction” explained in part by “a proactive planning process across the two cities as well as by the fundamental draw of the city region.”

Despite the disappointment inherent in the redirection of the money previously earmarked for HS2, and that the proposed development of Piccadilly Station has now being stripped back, there was agreement that people were not talking about levelling up so much as the 10-year vision for Manchester, and that this vision was an exciting one.

2024 is the year that Manchester goes to MIPIM to share the message that it has consolidated its success as a city region, a place where tradition meets innovation, and where real estate professionals can see what is coming down the tracks for the industry and are prepared for it.

MIPIM is global, strategic, and city-based, where we can focus on positioning and making connections, where we can demonstrate our deep knowledge of, and passion for, Manchester and the wider North West market. The North West real estate scene is not just resilient – it’s growing. We go to MIPIM 2024 to sell to the world, resolute in our determination to encourage even more investment in a region that continues to attract the biggest and the best.

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How many articles is this now about Manchester MIPIM? I don’t remember reading anything about Liverpool. They are going as well you know!! An entire city region next door does exist.

By John

    Hi John! A very good point – and not for lack of trying. I can assure you that you will be seeing Liverpool City Region coverage this week, including a story in tomorrow’s newsletter about their appearance at the Housing Matters! pre-MIPIM conference. – J

    By Julia Hatmaker

No mention of Bolton here one of the areas bigger regions. Perhaps we’d be better out of it

By Ulysses

Manchester’s biggest issue is urban rail transport expansion and/or a new metro system. Trams are complimentary for local areas but not a substitute. Platt Fields Park, Oxford Road to Cheetham Hill is an urban rail transport corridor desert. Orbital Line anyone? Fallowfield Loop plans up and through Manchester City etc using the existing line there. Where’s the ambition? I don’t even see a plan!! Liverpool has a far superior urban rail system with full-length frequent metro trains plus urban rail. Liverpool has the stately parks and new emerging area on the Wirral. I am in London for the moment but it seems to me Liverpool has the better rail transport and culture, Manchester the better of the investment and leisure led entertainment at Trafford. If Manchester wants true beta status, it needs rail expansion (not trams!) and I see no sign the big picture thinking is there.

By James Haughton


If it was true ambition, the rail would be underground, rather than taking up valuable green space.
MCC/TfGM are investigating this.

Nice try though.

By Anonymous

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