Investment News | 16 November 2021

London Embassy showcases Derby’s investment momentum

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When it comes to investment momentum, Derby is walking the walk and talking the talk.

That was the message given to the audience at Marketing Derby’s London Embassy, held at an iconic building in the capital nicknamed ‘The Walkie-Talkie’.

Last week, more than 100 guests, including investors, ambassadors and Bondholders, gathered at the Sky Garden, on the top floor of the central London building.

Against the spectacular backdrop of London’s night skyline, they heard how Derby had shown resilience in the face of the pandemic, with a number of key regeneration projects in the city progressing unabated.

Among the keynote speakers was Paul Simpson, chief executive of Derby City Council, who explained how the city had managed to attract £280 million of public cash since the pandemic started, which it is using to support some major schemes.

These include £45 million for the Becketwell regeneration scheme, £12 million for the SmartParc SEGRO Spondon development, £15 million for the Eastern Gateway and Market Hall refurbishment projects and a further £60 million for transport infrastructure improvements.

He said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have attracted £280 million of public cash to support a number of major projects.

“We have achieved a huge amount – but we are not going to get complacent – and we are not going to stop and rest on our laurels. Derby is open for business!”

At the embassy, he gave examples of major schemes, which are currently on-site – including Becketwell, where work has begun on the first phase of the mixed-use scheme, which involves the construction of 259 build-to-rent apartments.

He also mentioned the ongoing progress of the £100 million Castleward regeneration project and the 800-home Nightingale Quarter scheme on the site of the former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary.

He outlined how Derby was attracting “quality investors”, with Grainger Plc funding the first phase of the Beckwell scheme – and ASM Global being appointed to operate a new performance venue, which represents the second phase of the scheme.

He also cited Cale Street taking full ownership of the former Intu Derby shopping centre, now rebranded as Derbion, as another key example.

He went on to explain how more major projects were on their way, such as SmartParc SEGRO Spondon, a huge state-of-the-art high-tech food manufacturing and distribution campus, which will be built across 1.85 million sq ft and eventually employ 5,000 people.

And he also spoke about the South Derby Growth Zone, which recently received confirmation in the Budget of a £50 million boost from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

Also among the speakers was Patrick Horgan OBE, director of global governance relations at Rolls-Royce, who spoke about the firm’s long and proud association with the city – and why it is here to stay.

Earlier this year, Rolls-Royce started using its brand new £90 million test bed, created at its civil aerospace division, in Sinfin, which will be used to test aero engines of the present and future – while also carrying out work on Sustainable Aviation Fuels.

Last week, the company announced it had raised almost £200 million in private equity funding to create a new business – Rolls-Royce Small Nuclear Reactor (SMR), which will deliver low cost, low carbon, mini nuclear power stations.

Mr Horgan said: “The company contributes £1 billion to the local economy and employs a large amount of people. Derby is home to a large proportion of our research and development. In short, we like Derby.

“We are proud of our association with the city – and hope that we give Derby something to be proud of.”

The embassy also heard from another key investor for the city – the University of Derby.

It has an ambition to have a greater physical presence in the heart of the city – and has plans to create a new business school in the city centre, which is projected to be a study base for over 6,000 students.

Speaking at the embassy, Professor Kathryn Mitchell, vice-chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “We are an epicentre of knowledge and learning, one which we will continue to invest heavily in.”

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