Attracting inward investment to Chester was the aim when a business delegation headed to the south of France for the world’s largest property convention.
The organisation driving the city’s regeneration, Chester Growth Partnership - formerly Chester Renaissance - organised the debut appearance at the MIPIM event in Cannes, which attracts about 2,000 exhibitors from 93 countries.
It includes exhibitions, networking events and conference sessions.
Chester has a positive story to tell with investment opportunities within the £300m Northgate Development and the £100m Central Business Quarter plus the attraction of an improving cultural scene when the £37m Storyhouse cultural centre opens at the end of the year.
The ambition is to create jobs in Chester by showcasing how many large companies have already been attracted here and convince property developers and investors what a great place the city is for enterprise. Neighbouring cities Manchester and Liverpool attend to do exactly the same for their catchment areas.
Guy Butler, chairman of the partnership, said: “We worked with Cheshire West and Chester Council to create an investment map to showcase the long established financial services hub here but also companies which have moved here more recently, such as Bristol Myers Squibb and Tetra Pak.
“With the arrival of One City Place by Chester railway station we’ve taken the first step in the creation of a new business district in the city centre. There is much more to come in Chester.”
The private sector delegation was 100% self-funded and included representatives from Redrow, DTM Legal, Glenbrook property and Influential, the communications agency. It was also backed by Marketing Cheshire, Aldford-based design company Lister Carter and Muse Developments, who delivered One City Place.
Anna Duffy, a founder of DTM Legal, one of the Chester firms which helped finance the event, said: “We’ve had a very encouraging response from a wide range of businesses and investors. The creation of more new Grade A office space in Chester will undoubtedly help attract businesses and encourage those already here to flourish. But there are also investors, developers and occupiers interested in Chester for new hotels and retail.”
Nick Desmond, managing director of Bride Hall Real Estate Partners, one of the co-investors in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, and which is delivering the new Dining Quarter in Pepper Street, said: “It’s great to see that Chester has a new focus and has galvanised itself. There is strong interest from the occupier market in the redevelopment of Chester. The end game is about more jobs and making Chester an even better place to live and work.”