Over the past few days at MIPIM (the world's largest property convention taking place in Cannes this week), Bruntwood has been promoting the North of England and Midlands on the back of a landmark year for the development company.
The group, founded 40 years ago, now has more than £1bn of assets under ownership across 117 properties in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham and a development pipeline of £1.7bn.
Chris Oglesby, Chief Executive, said: “We are proud of our heritage and the experience we’ve gained over the last 40 years, and we look to the future with confidence in our strategy and the key regional cities in which we invest. The message we will be giving to global investors at MIPIM is that the North of England and the Midlands are open for business. The cities and regions that we have come to know offer exciting possibilities – we have a rich blend of talent, connectivity, and capability that is massively competitive in the global market.
“From our perspective there have been many highlights of the last year. From Manchester’s successful hosting of ESOF – the European Science Open Forum - to Manchester Science Partnerships’ successful bid for funding to create a new Tech Hub in the city, which will support start-ups and tech entrepreneurs focused on data science and technology innovation.
“Bruntwood is a passionate believer in the power of partnerships, and as such we were pleased to join the Northern Powerhouse Partnership in 2016, an influential group of more like-minded businesses which share a strong conviction in the growth potential of the Northern economy.”
Bruntwood is majority shareholder of leading science and technology park operator Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP); a joint venture partner with Select Property Group on the landmark 2.4m sq ft Circle Square development in Manchester and the owner of Alderley Park, a unique 1.5m sq ft mixed-used development in Cheshire.
Despite considerable global macro-economic uncertainty post the 2016 EU referendum, Bruntwood continues to invest for the long term to support and enable economic growth in key innovation-focused sectors such as science and technology.
One example is MSP’s intended £60m investment in expanding its Citylabs bio-medical campus in Manchester, which, subject to planning consent, will boost the city’s economy by more than £100m and bring 750 jobs to the city by 2020.
The announcement of Citylabs 2.0 and 3.0 followed the signing of a Strategic Property Partnership with CMFT (Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) at MIPIM 2016.
Significant progress has also been made towards delivering a new vision for Alderley Park, the unique 1.5m sq ft location in Cheshire. Following planning approval for a masterplan in early 2016, the first plot of land for residential was sold in September to PH Homes, The proceeds of the sale will be re-invested in the facilities on the site.
Over the past year, Bruntwood has acquired more than 100,000 sq ft of property, including Commercial Union House in Manchester, and Synergy House on Manchester Science Park.
In Leeds, Bruntwood has remodelled the 120,000 sq ft former City House into Platform, part of which has been let to law firm Shoosmiths. In Birmingham the 110,000 sq ft former 2 Cornwall Street has been transformed into Cornerblock.
During this calendar year, the group expects to complete 700,000 sq ft of schemes, including Manchester Science Partnerships’ super-high-tech enabled building at Manchester Science Park. This will be home to CityVerve, the UK’s only Internet of Things (IoT) smart cities demonstrator and Mi-IDEA (Manchester Inspired - Innovation Digital Enterprise Alliance) a post-accelerator programme and co-innovation ecosystem in partnership with Cisco.
The company will also soon be starting on site with the commercial phases of Circle Square, which is located in the heart of Corridor Manchester, the city’s innovation district.
Mr Oglesby said Bruntwood’s focus on supporting growth and innovation in science and technology in the North and Midlands is well aligned to the government’s proposed Industrial Strategy and its commitment to rebalancing the economy.