Wallace Whittle at UKREiiF: The Round Up

WWe asked our attending delegates for their highlights and some insights from UKREiiF 2024 in Leeds. 

Our directors from across the UK recently participated in the 2024 UKREiiF conference in Leeds. Organised by the UK Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum, this three-day event serves as a platform where industry leaders, innovators, and stakeholders meet, exchange insights, and investigate collaborative opportunities that shape the future of Real Estate and Infrastructure across the entire country. Over three days, our delegates had ample opportunities to contribute to thought leadership and into ongoing projects across the UK and engage with industry speakers. 

The annual gathering featured a compelling agenda, including keynote addresses, panel discussions, workshops, networking sessions and some great guest speakers. With a strong emphasis on exploring the latest trends, innovations, and investment strategies, our objective was to gather valuable insights and cultivate strategic partnerships within the industry. 

My main takeaway was how Energy Performance and ESG was mentioned as a factor in almost every session I attended, especially now from funders who require well performing assets going forward. Buildings and their occupant’s wellbeing are going to be smarter and more integrated and ever more efficient.” Craig Robertson – Director, England  

Craig also shared his experience attending the session hosted by JLL on Day Two, which outlined the development plans for West Edinburgh. We are currently part of the team on the incredible West Town project, a development by Drum Property Group, which is set to deliver 7,000 New Homes and an array of amenities.  

The plans for West Edinburgh, including the West Town development was a highlight for me, especially since its in my home city. On the back of delivering St James Quarter, Wallace Whittle are Building Services Consultants, providing MEPH services engineering and energy performance expertise, on two of the biggest developments in Edinburgh this century so far.” 

With our recent expansion into Birmingham and Manchester, our Regional Leads, Darren Wright and Paul Dean, found immense value in exploring up-and-coming projects and attending sessions focused on the region’s infrastructural growth and development. The West Midlands UKREiiF sessions highlighted the transformative power of the West Midlands as a driving force for real estate and regeneration opportunities. These discussions underscored how the region is poised to become a central hub for innovation and economic growth. 

The session “Devolution: Where does the UK go?” chaired by Phil Laycock, provided diverse regional perspectives and crucial updates following the 2023 trailblazer deals impacting Manchester and the West Midlands. Our projects in Birmingham and Manchester are directly influenced by these trailblazer deals, which aim to decentralise power and to provide more autonomy to local authorities.  

For instance, our ongoing project High Street in Digbeth exemplifies this approach. This development includes 481 residential units across two cores, ranging from 8 to 34 storeys, with a mix of 1, 2, and 3-bedroom dwellings. This project not only reflects our commitment to sustainable and innovative design but also aligns perfectly with the opportunities highlighted by the 2023 trailblazer deals. 

“We are once again delighted to work with a valued client and trusted partner to provide not only a much-needed affordable housing led scheme but also modern energy efficient homes for Digbeth and its community. Sharing our expertise, we hope to create and contribute to a vibrant neighbourhood.”  Darren Wright – Director, Birmingham 

As we continue to contribute to projects within this region, we are excited to be part of the positive changes and opportunities these deals bring to the West Midlands and Manchester.  

Another key takeaway was the focus on securing viable and sustainable funding and the promising future of the funding landscape over the next few years. The conference highlighted particularly promising prospects for projects related to PBSA, Co-Living spaces, and hotels. These sectors are expected to present significant investment opportunities over the next 18 months. 

“My first time at UKREiiF was a hugely positive experience. The event programming, content, and particularly the delegates that made the time to be available across the various days was truly first class.” Steven Dunn – Director, Scotland  

“Whilst acknowledging and discussing some of the key issues our industry faces right now and in the coming years with funding and the availability of capital, there was also a great deal of positivity and opportunity.

It was reflected in many conversations had during the debate sessions and casual conversations across my two days in Leeds – the future is looking bright.”

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