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Brenda Bates reflects on MIPIM 2017

Written by Brenda Bates

Brenda Bates, Director of Communications and Business Services for U+I plc, reflects on MIPIM 2017

MIPIM 2017 was a truly memorable occasion for U+I as we unveiled our vision for Mayfield, Manchester.

Having been appointed development partner for this landmark project in late 2016, MIPIM was an important moment for us on a number of levels, not least because it’s an international event.

We needed to raise awareness of Mayfield of course – a mostly derelict and decidedly unloved 24-acre site, which included a disused railway station building, overgrown raised station platforms and an enormous subterranean depot building situated a stone’s throw from Manchester’s Piccadilly station.

But we also wanted to talk about our heritage-led approach to urban regeneration, about how U+I looks to draw on the history of a place to inspire our thinking for the future, with innovation, imagination and audacity.

In addition, MIPIM was a chance to raise the profile of U+I itself (we are still a relatively young business, having been created though the merger of Development Securities and Cathedral Group in in 2015).

And, finally, we wanted to be part of ‘team Manchester’ and show our support for the city region’s presence at MIPIM and demonstrate why it is one of our areas of focus as a business.

U+I is one of four partners in the Mayfield Partnership, so it was important to us that our event on the Manchester stand reflected this sense that collaboration – including engaging with the community – is what will deliver something remarkable at Mayfield.

The title of our event – “Original Modern: Making Mayfield” was chosen to inspire and excite the audience – both in Cannes and those watching the live video feed – over the power of possibilities at Mayfield. We wanted something different, unique and distinctly Mancunian, which is why we commissioned spoken word artist Argh Kid to produce Manchester’s Sprawling – a wonderful lyric poem, which he delivered over a short film illustrating the site as it is now.

The feedback on the stand, in the media in Manchester, and from contacts in the sector, was incredible. The spontaneous applause from the attendees – and the warm words from then chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein – made us feel that we had more than achieved our goals.

U+I, as a member of the Mayfield Partnership is at  the beginning of a 10-year journey to deliver a soulful transformation of Mayfield. It was a pleasure working with Marketing Manchester in 2017, and I am sure Manchester at MIPIM will be at the heart of our thinking when we are ready to share the next chapter in our story.