Apparently, September marks the return to normality following the lazy, hazy days of summer.
September is when the property community, developers, investors and clients all return from their various sojourns to pick up the detail of deals, gaily abandoned in the heat of late July.
Only, this year, I’m not too sure this is what has happened.
First, despite Met Office warnings to the contrary, 2015 became the summer without any real heat.
And, in our experience here at Marketing Derby at least, the world simply carried on carrying on, right through August.
In fact, over August we hosted many investor visits at our new downtown Derby showcase in Riverside Chambers.
To be honest, it was a good time to show people around a vibrant city centre, busy and buzzing with activity.
Investors commented on the continued energetic construction they witnessed as they walked about: the Premier Inn and riverside apartments on Full Street, the Castleward apartments on Traffic Street, the Radleigh apartments on St Helen’s Street and massive student block rising on Cathedral Road.
In the world of retail and leisure, there were plenty of openings; including The Old Bell on Sadler Gate, Turtle Bay on the Wardwick, plus Byron and Joe’s Kitchen landing at Intu Derby.
There’s probably £50m of investment in the few schemes I’ve listed – all happening here in central Derby, all happening over the summer.
Add to this out-of-town developments, such as Infinity Park Derby and its classy Innovation Centre, Goodman’s massive new shed at Derby Commercial Park and the complex recycling facility off Victory Road and you are talking another £50m at least.
Not bad for a city, once described to me as a ‘place where nothing happens’…
People who know Marketing Derby will know that we like numbers.
Over the years, we have learnt that the best way to counter the narrative of inertia is by putting out some basic facts and figures.
So, this summer we’ve been doing a bit of homework, trying to identify the level of investment made into the city since the launch of the masterplan, an ambitious statement of intent from 2005.
Add together the big hitter investments that are measured in hundreds of millions -Westfield/Intu, the Royal Derby, Rolls-Royce and the like - plus the ‘smaller’ scale tens of millions invested in hotels, leisure and offices and you come to a pretty impressive number.
By our reckoning, £2,669,223,000 has been invested in Derby in the past 10 years.
Throw in the known future pipeline projects – Infinity Park Derby, Derby Triangle and Our City Our River for example – and there is another £1,752,300,000 waiting in the wings.
Yes, that’s over £2.6billion invested with a further £1.7billion to come. It’s probably safe to talk about Derby’s 20-year regeneration being a £5billion programme.
Talk about it? Maybe, we should shout about it!
When I lived in London, the GLC used to have a scoreboard, counting the unemployment number, positioned on top of County Hall facing the House of Parliament.
Visitors to New York will have seen the national debt digital counter in Times Square, numbers rising at an alarming rate.
Attracting investor interest is never easy but, once we get them here, Derby always pleasantly surprises. In truth, sometimes it’s the locals who are the hardest sell.
Maybe it’s time to have an electronic Regeneration Investment Counter, prominently positioned on the city skyline, parading our successes in full colour LED?