Momentum needed on City Deal

'Talk of a City Deal is already attracting business to our region - we must ensure these projects actually get delivered'

19 January 2016
  • Aerial photo of Cardiff Bay
  • Michael Lawley, left, Chairman of Cooke & Arkwright, with Managing Director Andrew Gardner

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Cooke & Arkwright is looking forward to another decade of growth after passing a landmark 115 years in the commercial property sector in 2015, a year in which Cardiff increasingly became the target of attention from global business and investors. As we gear up for the next twelve months, the Chancellor’s urgent message during his visit to Cardiff on 7 January, in which he challenged leaders to just ‘get on with it’ so that a City Deal can be signed by March, has been welcomed. It is seen as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to transform the economy of South Wales and help the region to fulfil its full potential, and it is crucial that the momentum is not lost.

Chairman Michael Lawley says, “There is no doubt that talk of a City Deal is already attracting business to our region. We speak to national and international property developers and investors on a daily basis, and the consensus is that the proposed improvements to infrastructure, as well as the soon to be approved LDP, are key elements in attracting them to invest in the city and city region.

“The interest is certainly there, but we now need to make sure we don’t lose momentum. We must ensure these projects actually get delivered. All parties involved need to take heed of the Chancellor’s message: ‘let’s get on with it’.“

Mr Lawley says that the commercial property market in South Wales has changed considerably since the firm was first founded in 1900, and especially in recent years. “In the last five years alone we have seen the core business district of Cardiff move from the north side of the city centre to the south side where the new Central Square and Capital Quarter developments are.

“Cardiff has undoubtedly seen the greatest change of all the cities in Wales and we are seeing more and more investors from London and abroad choosing the city as a preferred option for investment. Much of our time is spent advising our London based clients on development and investment opportunities.

“In the next ten years I think we will see our other cities of Swansea and Newport continue to attract business and investment, with the Friars Walk development in Newport and the central area redevelopment proposals in Swansea playing a significant role in this.

“It is therefore critical in 2016 that leaders grasp the nettle and ensure that the City Deal and other significant projects for the region become a reality.”

Blake Morgan committed to 29,000 sq ft office in the exciting Central Square development. We retained Ben Bolton and his team some time ago to advise and appraise options in the lead up to this significant move of our Cardiff Office. The business is extremely pleased with the outcome and Ben's negotiations and attention to detail was a major part to this.

Philip Jardine, Blake Morgan LLP