Sitematch Scotland: "a great chance to showcase cities"
by James Wood Fri 14th June 2013, 9:49 am
Council representatives from six Scottish cities - Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Inverness, Perth and Dundee - attended Sitematch Scotland at the Hilton London Euston hotel on Thursday 13 June, where they presented opportunity sites to 34 London-based property investors and developers.
The event, organised by 3Fox International, consisted of a breakfast session and lunch session with an overview from the Scottish Cities Alliance.
City presentations were kicked off by Mike Galloway, director of city development for Dundee.
Speaking afterwards, he said: "There's a great buzz about the event. It's important that we see Scotland as a product in itself. There's a tendency for Scottish cities to compete with one another and we've realised we're actually in competition with other places throughout Europe.
"The event gives us a chance to co-operate to bring as much investment and development interest into Scotland as possible, so ultimately we can share out the rewards."
Developers and city officers then took part in a series of one-to-one meetings to discuss individual sites and other aspects of development investment. About 156 meetings took place in total.
Key investors and developers in attendance at Sitematch Scotland included RBS’ investment company West Register; Henderson Global Investors; Citygrove Securities and Goodman Group.
In a Sitematch feedback survey, 100% of delegates said they made new and useful contacts at the event and 88% met personal objectives.
Martin Perry, director of retail property development at Henderson Global Investors said: “I found that the opportunities and available assistance for each of the development sites in each city to be clearly presented and of interest.”
Summarising the event, Sarah Woodford, investor promotions officer for the SCA, said: "Today's event was about using the alliance network to reach out to new investor audiences and in doing so giving our cities the opportunity to talk about the significant development that is taking place in Scotland right now."
"We are very much looking to create growth opportunities through the development of Cities Investment Funds and the recent announcement highlighting FDI in Scotland at a 15 year high just goes to reinforce the message that there's never been a better time to invest.”
Presentations were concluded by Iain Smith, property liason executive at Stirling Council .
Speaking earlier at the event he said: "This has acted as a great opportunity to promote and raise awareness of the cities in Scotland, both individually and collectivity.
"We’ve had a broad range of interest in all our sites, including the city centre. Just from today, investors are saying they are very encouraged and slightly surprised about what we have already secured in the city. It’s great to show people that the opportunities are there, particularly for a small city like Stirling."
Comments from other city representatives:
Jane Langan, senior investment officer at Glasgow City Council said: "The event is very useful and extremely positive. It is a great way to dip your toe in the water and solidify the security of the Scottish cities network.
"We have had a great deal of interest coming to the table and a lot of leads to follow up, so we couldn’t really ask for more.
"The main message we want to get across to investors is that Glasgow is a really fantastic city to be investing in at the moment, with what’s going to be happening in the future.
"The Commonwealth Games has driven investment and we have seen new development interest today. We are giving developers and investors the confidence to come and invest in Glasgow."
Anne Murray, business relationship manager at Glasgow City Council said: "It’s a great venue and the format has worked really well today. It looks very crammed and a lot to fit in if you look at the programme, but actually it has been completely seamless and a great way of networking."
Greg Ward, head of economic development at City of Edinburgh Council said: "We’ve had a lot of investor interest and been presented with some new opportunities. I liked how fast-moving the event was. People went from table to table very quickly so you weren’t having to make conversation once you talked about the specific deals.
"I think it gave the cities a great chance to showcase their best products."
Elaine Ballantyne, head of investor support at City of Edinburgh Council said: "For us it’s interesting because there’s a more diverse pool of investors than we would perhaps come into contact with otherwise and a more diverse offering of products across the cities.
"Some people we might not normally speak to are in the room and it is a great opportunity to talk about different projects.
Stuart Black, director of planning and development at the Highland council said: "We were seeing a great deal of interest from those who are familiar with Inverness but today we’ve spoken to one or two who haven’t heard much about it before and they have been given the chance to see the exciting things going on in the city.
"The event is a great way of meeting people you haven’t seen before. For us, it’s about making sure we give a positive message about the area and we’ve made some great connections.
"We’re all a part of the same country and we all want to create a successful, positive environment for Scotland, so we’re so pleased to be able to attend Sitematch. It’s been well organised, well briefed, the team made sure we were well prepared and have been really helpful.
Iain Smith, property liason executive at Stirling Council said: “This has acted as a great opportunity to promote and raise awareness of the cities in Scotland, both individually and collectivity.
We’ve had a broad range of interest in all our sites, including the city centre. Just from today, investors are saying they are very encouraged and slightly surprised about what we have already secured in the city. It’s great to show people that the opportunities are there, particularly for a small city like Stirling.
Mike Galloway, director of city development at Dundee City Council said: “There’s a great buzz about the event. It’s important that we see Scotland as a product in itself. There’s a tendency for Scottish cities to compete with one another and we’ve realised that we’re actually in competition with other places throughout Europe.
"The event gives us the chance to co-operate to bring as much investment and development interest and activity to Scotland as possible, so ultimately we can share out the rewards.
"We’ve met people from all sorts of different companies. It’s fantastic to be able to get that profile and make those connections."
Stuart Oliver, inward investment and marketing officer at Perth Council: said: "It has been a great experience. In terms of the one to one meetings at the event, this creates a lot of interest and it looks like we might have got some really good business. It’s good to see that investors and developers seem really keen to follow up their interest in Perth."
Sketch by Sandy Morrison: