Courtesy: Images of Birmingham
M&G Real Estate has been speaking ahead of our Future Cities Forum on 13th June at Burlington House, London about the economics of public realm improvement and collaboration with local government. Chris Perkins, Head of Business Space at the firm say that cities need to promote themselves to look more investable:
' If a city can position itself as equally attractive to students, families, large cultural events and business, then you will get momentum. It it important that city councils are commercial in their outlook. To get the private sector to invest - especially long term institutional investors - there have to be incentives: enterprise zones, tax rebates and an approach that smoothes the way through planning applications where red tape is simplified.We have to be confident that our policy holders will see good returns from our investment decisions.'
M&G Real Estate has invested long term funds in Snow Hill, Birmingham. Chris comments:
' Birmingham is on a journey that we like the look of and it is accelerating. It is in a strong position for a number of factors. Firstly, infrastructure where there are improvements in trains, the airport, the metro and HS2. Secondly, the demographics are attractive. Birmingham has a young skilled workforce and five universities. Thirdly, there is strong support from regional and local government for investors. Finally, Birmingham is very affordable in housing terms compared to London.
'There is enormous benefit in improving city public realm through working alongside local authorities. We want good street scapes and greenery to complement our office investments. This will increase dwell time in cities. If you get public realm right, strong economics will follow..'