Two Mayors and 39 companies head to the French Riviera to sell Liverpool to the world
Joe Anderson and Steve Rotheram will lead the 39-strong Liverpool delegation to the MIPIM global property expo in Cannes as it looks to woo some 5,000 investors from across the world. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool is this week sending its biggest-ever private sector delegation to the MIPIM global property expo in Cannes – with a “big reveal” due on the £1bn Knowledge Quarter project (KQ Liverpool).
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram will lead the delegation to the French Riviera event, a coming together of cities, developers, investors and professionals.
The four-day expo begins on Tuesday, March 13, but most of the Liverpool delegation flew out on Monday morning. It will include representatives of 39 firms – up from 36 last year and the biggest-ever.
Liverpool has been attending the event on and off for more than two decades and the city’s stand in the main exhibition hall is usually a big draw for delegates (in 2003 a Beatles tribute band attracted hundred of spectators) and is the venue for a number of presentations and announcements.
Critics of MIPIM (Le marché international des professionnels de l’immobilier) dismiss it as a “jolly” – four days of drinking and revelling with a bit of networking thrown in. One of the oft-quoted statistics about the event is that its delegates consume more champagne than at the famous film festival a few weeks later.
While it is true a significant amount of delegates’ time is spent in bars and restaurants it is also a place where key commercial relationships can be established and many cities now take the view that it is an event you simply cannot afford not to be at.
The MIPIM numbers emphasise that… around 24,200 delegates will attend coming from more than 100 countries. More than 3,000 companies will exhibit and some 5,000 investors will be in attendance will billions of pounds in their pockets.
At one time the city council would foot the bill for the delegation but, in the age of austerity, that would be politically unthinkable and in recent years the mission has been funded by its private sector partners.
At 8am on Wednesday at the Liverpool stand, KQ Liverpool will offer an update on the Paddington Village element of the £1bn project with an announcement on an “iconic building” for the site.
Last week KQ Liverpool chief executive Colin Sinclair said this would be a new hotel and said the MIPIM announcement would reveal a “fantastic design”. Both Mr Anderson and Mr Rotheram will speak at the MIPIM event.
Adopting the theme of ‘global connections’, the Liverpool stand will also play host to three events where Mr Rotheram will host conversations with high-profile guests.
The first of these will be with Peter Moore, Liverpool FC’s chief executive. This is followed by a discussion with former John Lewis chief executive Andy Street, now Metro Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, and then another with RIBA president Ben Derbyshire.
Waterfront and heritage
Liverpool’s waterfront is a recurring theme of the programme, with a number of European cities participating in sessions looking at how places can develop and utilise their waterfront assets and their investment potential.
The thorny issue of Liverpool’s threatened World Heritage Status (WHS) is sure to come up. At an event at Liverpool Town Hall last week Mayor Anderson said the city was now “actively engaging” with UNESCO over its objection to proposed tall buildings in Liverpool Waters.
However, he repeated the assertion that the city’s forward momentum cannot be stalled, adding: “It is about striking a balance. We are not a museum and we will not allow our city to be encased in aspic.”
For the last few years, Liverpool’s private sector delegation to MIPIM has been headed by Sean Beech, a partner at accountancy firm Deloitte. He says: “We go in confidence, with our city region leadership and an extended events programme.
“On a personal level, I’m thrilled that we have so many events linked in with other cities and UK Government – Metro Mayors Steve Rotheram and Andy Street; Amsterdam and other waterfront cities; Northern Powerhouse collaboration; North West science clustering – all with a view to generate growth, jobs and prosperity for our city region.
“MIPIM is an extremely valuable event for the city region’s businesses, and this is the strongest and most varied delegation we’ve ever had.”