Belfast City Region delegation takes investment case to global investors

Public and private sector leaders from across Belfast have joined forces to attract global investors at a commercial property conference.

The Renewed Ambition delegation has travelled to Leeds for the three-day UK Real Estate Investment & Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF) to champion the region’s investment opportunities to an audience of investors, occupiers and government bodies.

The event will focus 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.

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 and chief executive of Belfast Harbour, John Walsh, chief executive of Belfast City Council, Karen Hastings, investment & place manager at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Susie McCullough, director of regeneration development and planning at Ards and North Down Borough Council

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 officer of Wrightbus, will provide an overview of the innovation the company is leading on in hydrogen buses from its NI base, a powerful story highlighting the local cleantech skills cluster and collaboration which has helped the company become a world leader in the field.

Wayne Hemingway MBE, 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 two 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.

The co-investment opportunities offered by the Belfast Region City Deal will be given particular focus.

Joe O’Neill, chief executive, Belfast Harbour and chair of Renewed Ambition, said: “We will 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. So 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.”

The public-private sector led Renewed Ambition partnership, which includes occupiers, developers, the supply chain and the six Belfast Region City Deal councils, Belfast City Council, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Ards and North Down Borough Council, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is focused on positioning the region in prime position to take advantage of the opportunity to drive real estate investment and support inclusive economic growth.