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MIPIM Reviewed: Manchester On The Riviera

Jill Burdett on science, hope, bricks and mortar by the beach

Published on March 18th 2013.

MIPIM Reviewed: Manchester On The Riviera

IF MANCHESTER was quiet last week it was because most of the suits were in the south of France for MIPIM, the international property convention.

But if you believed the afternoon’s entertainment then in 20 years we may not actually need to go anywhere to do business, instead simply stand in a cube and let the world come to you.

The city council has had some stick in the past for part-funding this annual show case in Cannes but it’s now a much more focussed affair, paid for mainly by the forty or so private sector firms who want to align themselves to Manchester’s prominent stand overlooking La Croisette.

Marketing Manchester put together the slick stand which this year took three themes over the three days – Lead, Link, Live.

Manchester diving into CannesManchester diving into Cannes

So Tuesday it was all about science and more specifically Professor Brian Cox, an entertaining and effortless communicator and the best science ambassador the city could wish for.

He has been at Manchester University 21 years, believes it could be one of the top six universities in the world by 2020, and wants new buildings to be open to the street and inclusive not exclusive because “people need to wander through knowledge”.

This man might do ok on TVThis man might do ok on TV

He reels off recent investment in the Graphene building and The Eye Hospital site and points out that BP has just announced £64m in funding for collaboration between researchers and industrialists, money that could have gone anywhere but came to Manchester.

And in the wider region both Daresbury Laboratory and Jodrell Bank are involved in research that will have global impact.

He may have lost us when it came to black holes but we got the point that more Government spending on research and development and education could have a huge impact and Manchester was best placed to benefit. “Utopia is cheaper than you think”.

More Government investment, not less, was a message also made earlier in the day by Mancunian economist Jim O’Neill, at a Euro Cities debate. He too is an engaging speaker, though with more complicated charts, already advises Manchester and is surely a contender as next chair of Marketing Manchester after Nick Johnson. The £10,000 a year could come in useful when he leaves Goldman Sachs later this year.

Wednesday it was Link which obviously meant the Airport and Airport City. Work starts next month on £27m worth of new infrastructure at Airport City but they still need someone to build and someone to fund it.  New boss Karen Campbell tried to reassure the audience that it would complement rather than compete with the region’s current office offering attracting new international firms able to take advantage of the Enterprise Zone status.

But if you believed the afternoon’s entertainment then in 20 years we may not actually need to go anywhere to do business, instead simply stand in a cube and let the world come to you.

EON Reality officially opens its new European HQ at One Central Park this Wednesday but its chairman Dan Lejerskar was on the Manchester stand with a multi talented colleague to attempt to explain the scope of interactive 3D technologies and the potential for business.

It could also revolutionise teaching, switching the electronic generation on to “edutainment”.

This new HQ will be a research and development centre with a virtual reality showroom, training room, project room, development lab, and 3D classroom creating a centre of excellence and attracting customers from all over Europe to Manchester. Pretty cool.  Even with 3D glasses.

The Live stand was beautiful, a concrete wall with the word live spelled out in living plants. You probably had to be there.

To back it up we had David Pringle from the Co-op talking about NOMA and how they want the community to develop rather than be pre-ordained.

City chief executive, Sir Howard Bernstein makes his pointCity chief executive, Sir Howard Bernstein makes his point

Not much talk about actual living though and new housing, although I did hear, off stand, that a deal is about to be signed off to restore the three large tower blocks at Miles Platting that have been a sad blot for many years. The idea appears to be a refurbishment into flats for rent.

I also understand that the city is trying to renegotiate the development rights Urban Splash has on the majority of land at New Islington. Splash is in no position to develop right now and Manchester is rightly keen to see some progress here and offer other developers a chance.

Tom Bloxham, still a master party goer, was difficult to pin down to ask about the detail.

Sir Richard Leese went out for the first time in five years, not just to meet leaders of other European cities and take part in a debate on HS2 but to audit the whole MIPIM event. When you are facing tough budget at home you have to be able to justify any expenditure even if it is modest in comparison to the event.

He said: “Compared to five years ago this is a far better experience and speaking to the partners, they all, without exception, feel it is a promoting an image of Manchester as a place where firms can do business.”

Some interesting figures to round off the week from Andrew “Statto” Stokes, of Marketing Manchester.

46 private sector partners

21 events

Graphene video viewed by 2,200 on the web

9,381 twitter followers

10% of all MIPIM tweets mentioned Manchester – only Boris did better.

You can still watch all the stand presentations at www.manchesteratmipim.com

You can follow @jillburdett here.


Developing ideas?Developing ideas?

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousMarch 18th 2013.

What I said at the City Centre Ward Meeting Is what we want is action".

I am thinking of organising a meeting with Morgan Grenfall NY who have bought the loans the empty and regularly flooded site next door to me.

Not more speeches.in Cannes. say I but action.

At the very least lets clear the sites near me and 'pop up' something, a pavilion for Gordo to hold court perhaps.

I couldn't care less about New Islington or Urban Splash but I do believe in NO MORE RUINS in the City Centre.

Another ruin just outside the City Centre has appeared ...a car park on the BBC site! It has a fine grunge aesthetic to it just right for Manchester in the teens.

AnonymousMarch 19th 2013.

Stupidly personal comment has been removed. EDITORIAL COMMENT

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 19th 2013.

lol indeed.

AnonymousMarch 19th 2013.

this jolly needs to stop!! its absolutely taking the piss out of us the mancunian taxpayer and we get a council tax hike of 3.9%!? Is Bernstein paying this i wonder?? One should investigate this further and find out what other perks this man and the others get c/o us - at least you get to see who the councils inner circle is!! Maybe they all have their money stashed here in 2nd homes!!

A TaylorMarch 20th 2013.

Anon at 2.24, can you read? It's paid for by private companies sponsoring the effort. Manchester must be represented to show the world it's open for business and therefore much needed investment to create jobs. Manchester benefits, full stop. Get over it.

AnonymousMarch 20th 2013.

With a £4bn hole in the North West economy appearing this week as the North Wests as the largest private and scientific employer set its sights on Cambridge, it's important that Manchester is represented at such events. I’m glad Brian Cox was there to promote science. The region and not just Manchester will need it. The question is are Sirs Bernstein and Leese the best people to be representing Manchester in 2013. Yes, both men have contributed greatly to the city with the for example the Commonwealth games and Post IRA rebuild BUT, Howard Bernstein is an unelected civil servant that’s been in his position since 1998. Richard Leese has been in his position since 1996 and holds his position due to the massive majority Labour has on the council. Ask yourself, would we keep a Prime Minister for 17 years or a large company it’s CEO?.. Any large organisation needs new ideas and a change or at least a challenge of leadership more frequently than once every 17 years. ‘Only Boris did better’...is just another way of saying Manchester came second to London......now ask yourself why?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Poster BoyMarch 21st 2013.

You mean like Alex Ferguson? 26 years and counting...

There are very Chief Exec's like Howard Bernstein and there would no shortage of takers should his tenure in Manchester end. Be careful with what you might wish for

Whatever your opinion of him, his record is undeniable and he continues to be a force for good for Manchester. He can play politics, he can ‘play’ the private sector, and his radar (aside from the Congestion Charge debacle) is unerring. More to the point, he gets things done and, he’s one of us

The position of Sir Richard Leese is the same, but different. There is no obvious successor within the Manchester Labour Party, and unless Manchester stops voting Labour, there will be no change. That is, unless you are advocating a Mayor for Manchester. Even then the ‘Mayor’ is a hijack by the main political parties and it is a struggle to think of a charismatic, populist politician a la Boris, that any party could parachute in from Westminster. And God save us from another fiasco like the Police Commissioner elections.

So who do you propose?

user4652March 21st 2013.

In the interests of journalistic integrity, Jill - is it Learn, Link, Live as you report? Or is it Lead. Link. Live. as clearly displayed on the banners? Whether or not you agree with promoting Manchester at these type of events, please, at the very least, check for glaring errors.

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialMarch 21st 2013.

User you're a genius. Changed. Thanks.

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