Latest News | 3 June 2021

May the Force of inward investors be with us!

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Here, in his latest monthly column reflecting on the news over the past month, our Press and PR Executive Robin Johnson looks at the headlines.

Those of you who have been on a Zoom call with me at some point over the last 12 months will probably have gathered that I am a fan of the Star Wars films.

Behind me, in my office, there is a fair bit of memorabilia, which I have collected over the years.

Don’t worry, I don’t walk around Derby city centre dressed as a Jedi Knight, quoting the films at anyone who will listen. At least, not during working hours.


Although on May 4th, known as Star Wars Day, some diehard fans do, greeting one another with the phrase “May the Fourth be with you!”

Yes, I can see you rolling your eyes!

I’ll be honest, since joining Marketing Derby, I have started to view the Star Wars films in a different light – asking myself strange questions such as where did The Emperor get his money from to build the Death Star?

Did he have an army of inward investors behind him who all bought into the idea of taking over the galaxy?

Was the Death Star specifically designed as a mobile planet destroyer to avoid the complexities of inter-galactic planning law?

Just like the struggle between The Rebels and The Empire, landing inward investment can be an epic battle. We are competing against cities across the country – and sometimes globally – for that investment.

But if the headlines from May are anything to go by, the Force definitely seems to be with us here in Derby.


The story that took top billing for me during the month of May was the announcement by St James Securities that Grainger plc had agreed to invest just shy of £37.4 million in the build-to-rent element of the Becketwell regeneration scheme. (Read the full story here.)

It’s an incredible deal given the current climate – and a massive vote of confidence in Derby.

This was quickly followed up by another piece of good news for Becketwell – the announcement of a preferred bidder to operate and manage the performance venue element of the scheme. (Read the full story here.)

ASM Global has been lined up to run the 3,500-capacity venue – it is a huge name and a real coup for Derby.

Our city centre residential schemes really have some great momentum behind them. Not only that, they ooze quality.


Spring 2021

I saw that for myself during a recent field trip to the Nightingale Quarter, the 800-home scheme being developed by Wavensmere Homes on the former DRI site (look out for my write-up on this on a future e-shot).

Just over the road from the Nightingale Quarter is the £100 million Castleward regeneration scheme.

In May, it was revealed that the project had been shortlisted for a major national award. (Read the full story here.)

Everyone here at Marketing Derby will be keeping their fingers crossed for Dave Bullock and his team at Compendium Living.

As well as attracting inward investors, successfully bidding for government cash is crucial to Derby’s future.

And in May, we had the confirmation that Derby will be getting £15 million from the Future High Streets Fund, which will be put towards the transformation of the Market Hall and the creation of the Eastern Gateway – two schemes that are key to the city’s overall regeneration plan. (Read the full story here.)

Meanwhile, money is being ploughed into encouraging more businesses into the city centre after Derby City Council recently launched a £1.75 million initiative. (Read the full story here.)

The fund has already helped Bam Boom Cloud make the decision to locate its global headquarters in the Wardwick. Hopefully, it will help attract many more.

Meanwhile, existing city centre-based firms, who compete on a global level, are continuing to make their mark.

In May it was announced that HUUB, the global triathlon and cycling brand, which is based in Full Street, had been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation. (Read the full story here.)

It’s a remarkable achievement – and the team here at Marketing Derby know the sense of pride such an accolade brings, having received its Queen’s Award last year.

Staying in the city centre, the University of Derby revealed its intentions to continue to invest.

At the start of May, it shared its vision for a new, iconic business school in the centre of the city. (Read the full story here.)

The University of Derby business school

And, of course, May finally saw the opening of another key city centre investment – the stunning £18 million Museum of Making.

I’ve already been to see it – and there is not enough space in this blog for me to tell you exactly how I feel about it, so look out for a special feature coming soon in which I’ll share my thoughts.

The investment success stories from May were not exclusive to Derby city.

One of our property giants, Clowes Developments, announced it had agreed a £100 million deal with insurance giant NFU Mutual to deliver new logistics facilities throughout the UK. (Read the full story here.)

Allied to all this is the progress being made on key schemes, from SmartParc to Infinity Park.

Marketing Derby has had a hand in many of these schemes, sometimes overtly, sometimes covertly.

Clowes Developments’ project

If I was to sum up Marketing Derby’s approach when it comes to attracting inward investment, it would have to be a quote from Yoda, which is “Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Maybe we should invite the diminutive Jedi Master along to our forthcoming Derby Property Summit in July?

His mind control powers could come in useful with potential investors: “Come to Derby, you must. Invest, you will!”

Which reminds me, I need to dig out his address on Dagobah so I can send him a copy of our latest Innovate magazine. You can check out the digital version here.

Anyway, that’s enough from me. Have a safe and productive June and I look forward to catching up with you again soon.

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