Lee Powell

The importance of levelling up remains undiminished

Levelling up must continue to be front and centre of any discussions taking place at MIPIM, writes Lee Powell, CEO of GMI Construction Group.

Key areas of the country identified by the government as ‘left behind’ regions in terms of missed economic opportunities still require investment from both public and private sectors.

New buildings are needed to house the modern factories, distribution centres and offices that will drive our growth in the years ahead, but they should also be seen as symbols of regeneration, jobs and future prosperity.

GMI attends MIPIM to show those seeking to invest in the development of manufacturing, industrial, logistics, and office space that there is a construction partner operating across the North and the Midlands that has a proven track record of delivering often complex and quality projects on time and within budget.

It’s common sense that even greater economic benefit can be gained from those developers that choose not to bring in contractors from outside these regions.

GMI is firmly anchored in the North West, Yorkshire, North East, and the Midlands, and is already delivering projects that make levelling up a reality, turning economic ambition into tangible results.

We re-invest our profits in our people, technology, and skills. That ethos is reflected in our commitment to using local suppliers and materials whenever possible, reducing carbon emissions, and promoting careers in construction.

Since the pandemic, we have seen an unprecedented number of enquiries for industrial, manufacturing and logistics facilities, offices, hotels, residential, and retail developments.

Despite the current economic turbulence, there are still opportunities in the market, and the business has a healthy pipeline of projects which provide me with great optimism for the future.

This is grounded in GMI’s regional values which translate into achieving growth in an organic and controlled manner, reflected by the fact that it has remained debt free every year since it was founded in 1986.

In 2018, GMI opened its office in Manchester – an investment that reflects a vote of confidence in the vibrancy of the region.

At MIPIM, those working in the North and Midlands need to echo this confidence to attract the investment needed to truly level up. These do not need to be empty words. We have a wealth of practical examples that show why the North and the Midlands should be exciting for investors.

The projects we have delivered across the North West represent the wide variety of sectors we serve, and include Wirral Waters, a three-storey Grade A sustainable and contemporary waterside office space which is part of a major regeneration of the left bank of the River Mersey; a 72,500 sq ft industrial development at Stonecross Park, Warrington; and a 92,000 sq ft distribution centre for road haulage company Fagan & Whalley at Burnley Bridge Business Park.

Oldham Road

GMI was principal contractor on the contemporary 144-apartment development on Oldham Road. Credit: GMI Construction Group

In Manchester, GMI was principal contractor on the contemporary 144-apartment development on Oldham Road, and the seven-story Malmaison hotel in the city’s heart.

Industrial, logistics and office space remain in demand in the North West, with many of the spaces offering the flexibility required from both current and future occupiers and are firm drivers of economic prosperity.

GMI has also completed a major levelling up project in East Yorkshire, Siemens Mobility’s 247,676 sq train manufacturing facility.

Everyone working on the project from a GMI point of view lived within a 25-mile radius, which meant the local economy benefited from an estimated £2.7m in wages paid to the local workforce. The £200m facility will create 700 jobs, with an additional 1,700 indirect supply chain opportunities.

This is levelling up in action.


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