Just yesterday, at MIPIM, nineteen development projects worth a total of £8bn, that aim to propel the Midlands Engine forward, were previewed, ahead of the portfolio's official launch.
Midlands Engine chairman Sir John Peace told the audience at the international property exhibition in Cannes:
"It adds up to £8bn of investment opportunities, and there are other projects which take the total to £14bn.
“Last week we launched the Midlands Engine and Connect reports, setting out the Government's view that the Midlands Engine is important to the whole country.”
Dr Colin Clinton, regional project manager at the Department for International Trade, described the Midlands as "a model region for investment".
HS2 was given the go ahead last month, and it will bring with it a huge boost to growth in the region.
Given all of this, the future looks very bright indeed. The BCA has many exceptional members operating in the Midlands and they are all showing extremely strong performance, and enormous optimism for continued growth.
At Citibase, Alasdair Farrimond commented:
“Over the last year, the West Midlands has been an extremely strong performing region for Citibase with enquiries, viewings and deals for our five centres in the area all being well above the national average.
“Our confidence in the economy of the region has been shown with the launch of two brand new centres - Citibase Walsall whose doors opened at the start of 2016 and Citibase Newcastle-under-Lyme which welcomed its first customers in the Spring - joining our existing three centres in the West Midlands.
“Citibase Newcastle-under-Lyme has been a particular star performer, being an immediate hit with the local business community. So much so that we doubled in size within just a few months of opening, and expanded again in the autumn, so high was the demand.
“With the investment in HS2 and other infrastructure projects in the region we can only see this trend continuing as more SMEs choose to base themselves in the heart of the UK and look to flexible officing to help them on their path to growth.”
Another highly valued BCA member, Jane Erasmus from UBCuk said, of their Birmingham operations:
“We see consistent high demand for space in our Birmingham City Centre and Solihull offices.
In city centre it’s the professional sectors including Insurance, Legal, Marketing, Recruitment and also from new and fledgling businesses tending to do business locally, and wanting to be close to all the action. The City Centre really has a buzz about it these days.
“In our Birmingham Business Park location, we tend to see more established and growing companies that do business nationally and internationally, including a number of European businesses, taking advantage of our central location for the motorway network combined with airport connections.
“There is much talk about businesses moving away from London and out to the regions like the Midlands because of rising property and labour costs in the Capital and relatively lower costs of living in the regions. It seems logical and likely therefore for this to continue with HS2, due to improved transportation links and reduced journey times from Northern and Midlands cities to the Capital.”
According to data from StartUp Britain and Marketing Birmingham, the UK's second city is now home to more businesses than any other city outside London. Its total is a whopping 39,800 - more than Manchester and Cardiff combined.
What's more, in 2016 Birmingham recorded the UK's highest growth rate, which was double the national average and higher than London, Manchester and Liverpool.
BCA member, Lesley Duckitt, from DBS said:
“It is really an exciting time at the moment for DBS. All three of our centres are in an area targeted for major growth over the next decade. We are right in the middle of the area known as the 'Golden Triangle'. The East Midlands is the premier location for logistics and distribution with its excellent road (M42, M1, M6 major motorways), air (East Midlands and Birmingham Airport [the former being the largest dedicated freight hub in the UK]), rail and sea network. You can reach all major British cities within a few hours.
“Our Centres are in the heart of this region with all three of them located on the major motorway junctions in the centre of the triangle. We are seeing large warehouse developments around our centres and this premier position is significantly impacting economic growth, development and inward investment. Combine this with the 'Midlands Engine' and the outlook is extremely promising for us and businesses in this area.”
With Birmingham continuing to attract start-ups and high profile businesses, and in the face of current economic uncertainties, workspace operators find themselves in a very good position to profit from businesses need for flexibility.
Empowering cities through devolution (the election for Mayor of the West Midlands will be in a matter of weeks) together with policies to support investment, could raise output by almost £30bn over the next 10 years, according to law firm Irwin Mitchell.
This would keep the Government on track to meet its ambition to generate an additional £34bn for the Midlands economy by 2031.
Developments in the last few years have already made an impact. The twenty year ‘Big City Plan’, launched in September 2010, setting out the detailed framework for radical change to the City Centre, is now well under way.
Birmingham was a manufacturing powerhouse in the 18th Century. It is now well on its way to becoming the ‘economic powerhouse’, that it wants to be, and very soon we will see the Midlands Engine firing on all cylinders!
To contact BCA members in the region see links below: