100-strong Belfast delegation to showcase city’s development and investment opportunities in Cannes

Belfast City Council CEO Suzanne Wylie, left, with City Cllr Donal Lyons and Jackie Henry, senior partner at Deloitte and chair of the private sector taskforce leading the Belfast at MIPIM delegation
Belfast City Council CEO Suzanne Wylie, left, with City Cllr Donal Lyons and Jackie Henry, senior partner at Deloitte and chair of the private sector taskforce leading the Belfast at MIPIM delegation

A delegation of almost 100 business leaders from the Belfast region arrive in France today in preparation for MIPIM – the world’s largest international property investment conference.

Taking place in Cannes over the next three days, the largest-ever delegation will present a portfolio of major real estate investment and development opportunities in the city to a potential audience of over 28,000 international property investors, developers and occupiers.

Among the projects presented will be the proposed Belfast Waterside Regeneration project in the East Bank area and the Giant’s Park at the North Foreshore. The programme will also include a focus on demand for build to rent and city centre living in Belfast, as well as waterfront regeneration developments.

A number of schemes from private sector schemes from the delegation will also be presented – including the Merchant Square development by Oakland Holdings, headline sponsor of this year’s MIPIM delegation.

Made up of 40 supporting private and public-sector organisations, the delegation will hostmore than 15 showcase events across the conference – each designed to highlight a range of key strengths that underpin the Belfast Region’s strong investment proposition.

Whilst this will be the fourth consecutive year that a group has represented Belfast at MIPIM, this year’s delegation will, for the first time, include representatives from the five councils partnering with Belfast City Council in the Belfast Region City Deal programme of co-investment.

According to Jackie Henry, Chair of the private sector taskforce leading the delegation, the event highlights the importance of private and public-sector collaboration in attracting investment and building sustainable economic growth in Northern Ireland.

“MIPIM is a prime example of how a strong partnership approach between the private and public sectors can provide the optimum environment for businesses to thrive,” she said.

“Given the ongoing challenges brought about by Brexit uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that, together, we get out and market Belfast and the surrounding region internationally.

“Investment in real estate not only delivers jobs and economic prosperity; it’s essential to our ability to attract international businesses to our city, whilst supporting our indigenous businesses to grow and flourish.

“MIPIM 2019 will be about building upon the successes achieved through our attendance at the conference in the past three years.

“We’re delivering a strong, engaging programme of events to ensure that Belfast and the region’s compelling investment proposition is reaching new audiences and investor networks.

“We’re focused on creating a real buzz around the Belfast stand this year - so our programme of showcase events will be enhanced by a series of ‘special interest’ slots – including two sessions featuring world renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, most famous for the new masterplan for New York’s World Trade Center and Berlin’s Jewish Museum. Team Belfast’s stand will also be home to the iron throne from Game of Thrones, highlighting Belfast’s burgeoning film and screen industry.”

Cllr Dónal Lyons, chair of the council’s city growth and regeneration committee, said MIPIM 2019 presented an invaluable opportunity for Belfast to showcase itself as a city reimagining itself as an economic powerhouse.

“MIPIM has proved itself as a really important platform for attracting and securing international investment,” he said.

“Any major city in Europe serious about promoting itself is at MIPIM, and we’re no different.

“We want to emphasise all the impressive opportunities that Belfast has to offer investors and allow them to witness first hand the exciting momentum taking place around new construction, infrastructure, economic and cultural projects in the city.

“They will be left with no doubt that the city has an exceptionally bright and vibrant future.”

MIPIM, he added, was just one of a range of initiatives he was confident would help generate investor attention and improve quality of life for people in city and wider area.

“Securing a Belfast Region City Deal – up to £1bn of co-investment – presents a once in a generation opportunity to deliver a decade of inclusive economic growth, create up to 20,000 new and better jobs, £470 million GVA and make the region a global investment destination of choice,” he said.

“I have no doubt that MIPIM 2019 will be a hugely beneficial trip for the city, and that the delegation’s collective effort and energies invested will reap dividends for Belfast and the surrounding region in the months ahead.”