Downtown Manchester in Business recently hosted a members dinner at the stunning Abode Hotel. CEO, Frank McKenna was in conversation with Head of City Centre Growth & Regeneration for Manchester City Centre, Pat Bartoli at an exclusive roundtable with key decision makers from the business community including Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sutcliffe, Deloitte and Bruntwood to name a few.

The dinner, sponsored by Project Four Safety, heard Pat discuss the ongoing HS2 project and how it was essential not only for Manchester but the North that government delivered, as well as Network Rail delivering on Northern Hub Works in order for the city to attract new businesses and enable better business to business connectivity across the Northern Powerhouse.

In terms of Manchester City Centre, the commercial office sector is performing excellently, there is a huge demand for Resi with plenty in the pipeline and in the retail sector, especially amongst the independents, performance is pretty good in comparison to other regional cities with hotels also doing very well.

Pat highlighted the rapid growth in Media, Creative and Tech sectors with Simon Bedford, Real Estate Partner at Deloitte underlining that these sectors in cities like  Amsterdam and Sydney make up around 60% of the job market, were as Manchester is at around 40%. Taking the glass half full approach, Simon suggested there is plenty of opportunity for the future. With this in mind, Director of Laing O’Rourke, Tom Higgins emphasised the importance of Manchester and surrounding towns getting their offer right. Younger people who will essentially fill those jobs in the future must have an attractive proposition with better connectivity and more affordable housing to highlight a couple of key factors.

Downtown Director, Chris McKenna commented; ‘It was great to have Pat join us this week. It is crucial we give our members opportunity to engage with leading public sector figures to enable us to influence and shape the future of Manchester. Next week we host a pre MIPIM dinner with Marketing Manchester and Leader of the City Council, Sir Richard Leese at the Hyatt Hotel on what is sure to be another insightful dinner for our members’

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