Business

Belfast delegation takes region's investment case to global property investors

Pictured at the launch of Renewed Ambition 2022-23 are (from left) Michael McKenna, strategic investment manager at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council; Cathy Reynolds, director of city regeneration & development at Belfast City Council; Joe O’Neill, chair of Renewed Ambition; John Walsh, chief executive of Belfast City Council; Karen Hastings, investment & place manager at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council; and Susie McCullough, director of regeneration development and planning at Ards and North Down Borough Council

PUBLIC and private sector leaders from across the Belfast region have joined forces in a bid to attract global investors at an influential commercial property conference in Leeds this week.

The Renewed Ambition delegation is at the three-day UK Real Estate Investment & Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF) to champion the region's unique investment opportunities to an audience of investors, occupiers and government bodies.

The event focuses on levelling up across the UK and in particular cultivating the development of greener, smarter, healthier places while driving inward investment; how the built environment can play its part in creating net zero UK; and facilitating shared learning across the real estate on how to embed social value within the private sector.

The delegation will focus on the Belfast region's potential to take advantage of its dual market access to the UK and Europe in the wake of Brexit, the transition to a green economy and the digital revolution, educating potential investors and raising awareness of key investment opportunities.

The visit will culminate in a session entitled 'Belfast Region – A £1bn Decade of Opportunity', setting out the huge potential for a region already brimming with exceptional talent, creativity and innovation.

Buta Atwal, chief executive of Wrightbus, will provide an overview of the innovation the company is leading on in hydrogen buses from its Ballymena base, while Wayne Hemingway, founder of HemingwayDesign, will underscore the importance of regeneration in creating a region which people want to live in, work in and visit, showcasing the Bangor Waterfront project and his vision to make it to Belfast what Brighton is to London.

They will also take part in panel discussions, along with senior leaders from councils in the Belfast region, focusing on the significant potential for the cleantech and innovation sector and for tourism and regeneration.

The session will also focus on the two major initiatives accelerating the Belfast region's potential; the Belfast Agenda with its target of attracting 66,000 people to live and work in the city centre and 31,600 homes by 2035 – and the £1 billion Belfast Region City Deal, which will deliver innovation and jobs for a new economic era achieving true levelling up.

Joe O'Neill, chief executive of Belfast Harbour and chair of Renewed Ambition, said: “We'll be telling the story of the Belfast region to an investor-ready audience. Belfast and the Belfast City Region are now internationally recognised as being alive with entrepreneurial spirit, ambition, and optimism. We have a strong track record in attracting global occupiers and investors in real estate.

“We have strong fundamentals in place evidencing the real estate market performance since 2015, as well as the tangible prospect of an upsurge in Build to Rent with a major opportunity for first mover advantage. We're bringing the message of an energised and ambitious city and city region with real confidence to investors and occupiers who want to understand more about the wealth of unique investment and development opportunities on offer.”

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