Talking Up Wolverhampton – Great Future On The Way!

As a City Councillor I receive a briefing every week from the Managing Director Keith Ireland about the ‘big issues’ affecting the City, What I have decided is that this week’s briefing I will share with readers here in Wednesfield North….. this is what this weeks up beat IMG_0602 New Hoizons for Wolverhamptonbriefing tells me-

Keith Ireland said – This week we “have been flying the flag for the City of Wolverhampton with Cllr John Reynolds and Tim Johnson, Strategic Director Place, at the MIPIM international property and investment forum in Cannes, France. We have been busy pitching to global investors and developers just why Wolverhampton is the place to come and invest. MIPIM is the world’s leading property forum, bringing together the most influential figures from all international property sectors – office, residential, retail, healthcare, sport, logistics and industrial, offering unrivalled access to the greatest number of development projects and sources of capital worldwide.

On Tuesday afternoon, Tim Johnson presented to a room full of investors and developers a host of major investment opportunities in the UK Midlands Pavilion at MIPIM. The presentation included the launch of a CBRE Investment Prospectus mapping out a visionary 10-year investment plan for the city centre. It recommends that the City of Wolverhampton could accommodate a million square feet of Grade A Office space in a new commercial quarter.

Tim’s presentation also included a major announcement about i9 – an iconic, multi-million pound grade A office scheme next to the city’s £132 million Interchange development, and opposite the award-winning i10 office building.

Exciting new images of i9 were unveiled and Tim announced Glenn Howells Architects as the winners of the city’s Interchange design competition. Tim also provided an update on the exciting Westside scheme at the heart of the city centre. He revealed a stunning new artist’s impression of the £55 million development. Enabling works are currently underway on the leisure-led mixed use scheme and strong demand from occupiers means construction on the first phase remains on track to start in early 2018. The MIPIM presentation also highlighted a 100-plus bed opportunity for a hotel investor to be part of the scheme, which sits across 6.4 acres on three adjacent parcels of land.

A new vision for canalside living in the heart of the City of Wolverhampton was also revealed at MIPIM. We are working with the Canal & River Trust, Homes and Communities Agency, Network Rail, and the West Midlands Combined Authority in the Canalside Delivery Partnership to develop canalside.

The site lies just minutes away from the Interchange, with the majority of sites in the ownership of the partners. As part of the scheme, a city centre living proposition for more than 600 new homes was showcased to investors and developers. Other ideas for Canalside include an anchor leisure scheme clustered around existing historic buildings, which could include restaurants and a micro brewery. Creative workspaces and a marina development are also being considered, and LED and feature lighting around the canals and tunnels is being progressed.

MIPIM has given us the opportunity to put Wolverhampton on the map and showcase the many exciting opportunities we have here for investors. We have achieved some excellent press from our announcements – including BBC Midlands Today declaring that the city was undergoing a “renaissance”. We have certainly seen increased interest in the city from major investors and developers and will be following up on all of these leads. I will be carrying out more detailed briefings for councillors and employees upon our return.

Meanwhile, back in Wolverhampton it has been a very important week for our Customer Services operation with the opening of the new reception and customer services centre. As well as making the right first impression for our visitors, it is also helping us to enable the transformation and savings targets for customer services.”

Now it goes with out saying that this sort of showcasing attracts criticism as well as plaudits, but I feel that Wolverhampton is moving forward. There is a great feel about the development opportunity here in this city, and I feel that with Government taking money out of our budgets, we need to have an economy that needs to expand, and quickly!  So come on Wulfrunians, this is a real exciting report that I am sharing… proud too and help talk up Wolverhampton!

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more