Brum’s got to get its swagger on
Birmingham is losing its grip on the ‘second city’ tag to a northern neighbour with greater personality and drive, according to Birmingham’s most renown property investor.
Manchester, whose shadow looms ever larger over the Midlands capital, benefits from strength of vision, according to Paul Bassi, the chief executive of Real Estate investors.
Speaking on the panel at Estates Gazette Midlands Question Time last week, Bassi said: "Manchester has got personality, it's got drive, it’s got a message and you know where you stand with Manchester. We’ve just got too many people with too many different messages."
However, at a frank debate at Birmingham’s Millennium Point, positioned in the city’s transforming Eastside, his thoughts were quickly rebutted.
The world and foreign investors look favourably upon Birmingham, said Mark Barrow, who heads up the LEP at Birmingham City Council. Locally, it just doesn’t "boast and swagger" as much as it should.
The panellist said: "Early this year at MIPIM within two separate award categories we came in the top 10 of places in Europe for FDI. Our own reputation within the UK is what we need to work hard on."
And so this was the underlying theme at the 30th November debate, where the local property industry gathered to hear expert opinions on the current state and economic development prospects for the UK’s ‘second city’.
Also on the panel were Jerry Blackett, chief executive of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Barry Allen, the head of Savills’ regional office. EG editor Damian Wild chaired.
The debate canvassed everything from the dearth of office space to the oversupply of icons, Brum’s booming sectors and the power of HS2.
Watch the best bits in the video below, or, if you’ve got a little more time, listen to the podcast of the full debate, which can be downloaded here or by heading to Estates Gazette's iTunes channel.