Opportunity London musters for MIPIM choir offensive

Opportunity London musters for MIPIM choir offensive

Laura Citron greeted guests by telling them they were at “a choir rehearsal”. It was a neat way into the evening’s theme of London’s government bodies and its development sector “singing from the same hymn sheet” when seeking investment from overseas.

The gathering, held at the Foreign Office’s mighty Lancaster House mansion just off Green Park and The Mall, was a pre-MIPIM reception – a rallying of London’s forces of persuasion in advance of Le Marché International des Professionals de L’immobilier, the annual global real estate trade event held in Cannes.

This collective enterprise, embracing everyone from London Councils to Barratt Homes to Network Rail to Lendlease to City Hall, is gathered under an umbrella called Opportunity London, itself a joint endeavour by New London Architecture (NLA) and London & Partners aimed at drawing footloose funds to the capital for building things.

Citron, London & Partners chief executive, explained that the hymn sheet is the Opportunity London investment prospectus, which defines six world-leading “strategic asset classes for investment” ranging from life sciences to affordable homes, features nine big investment sites including Barking Riverside and Earl’s Court, and introduces NLA’s New London Agenda, a blueprint for the city’s future.

Overlooked by glistening chandeliers and an edifice of oil paintings, government minister Lord Dominic Johnson spoke next, opining that “there is no more noble human endeavour than allocating capital to the highest points of return” and noting that such observations tend to be met with “deathly quiet”. Well, yes. He quoted Ronald Reagan twice and managed a self-deprecating quip about the unpopularity of the government. He insisted, nonetheless, that it is committed to assisting the capital.

Opportunity London chief executive Jace Tyrrell assured those assembled, who included the Labour leaders of Hounslow, Lambeth and Barking & Dagenham councils and Conservative Mayor of Croydon, that there is “no global metropolis quite like London” and hailed scope for some £100 billion to be put into “low carbon real estate, energy and infrastructure” across the city.

He noted that “global capital has a choice” about where to risk its fortunes. Proffering reassurance that London remains an attractive option, he expounded a mission to make it easy and appealing to pick London sites and schemes, recalling the “team spirit” of the London 2012 Olympics.

London Councils vice chair Claire Holland, who is also Lambeth’s leader, spoke about the huge financial cost to boroughs of providing temporary accommodation – it has risen to £90 million a month. She welcomed housing being a “key focus” of the prospectus and hoped it would contribute to “a fairer, more inclusive” city.

Howard Dawber, recently appointed Sadiq Khan’s Deputy Mayor for Business stressed the need for the public and private sector to come together and characterised Opportunity London as not only a choir “but also The Avengers”, uniting a potentially “unbeatable” array of special and distinctive powers.

Chris Hayward, policy chair at the City of London Corporation, praised the concept of partnership: “Everyone in this room, promoting London, selling London” sharing a passion for it as “the global capital of the world”. He underlined the importance of the Destination City programme, which seeks to turn the Square Mile into a seven-day-a-week place to be, and asserted that the office market is being re-born, not on its death bed. The hailed the post-Covid “flight to quality”.

With public finances stretched and no guarantee that a change of national government will will mean a huge change for the better in attitudes to the capital, Opportunity London could be a vital lifeline for a city that remains strong but still needs all the help it can get.

Support OnLondon.co.uk and its writers for just £5 a month of £50 a year and get things for your money too. Details HERE. Threads: DaveHillOnLondon. X/Twitter: On London and Dave Hill.

Categories: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *