What is Regeneration?
Regeneration projects cover a variety of different sectors and can include transport, housing, leisure and commercial spaces. Generally speaking, regeneration is the inward investment that towns and cities experience across the entire landscape.
For investors, knowing which locations are undergoing regeneration and where the best urban regeneration projects are is crucial. Whether these include adding a new shopping centre to the city or a completely new transport network, these redevelopments will usually impact the local property market, economy and more importantly, tenant demand.
More often than not, urban regeneration schemes have positive effects on the local area. As well as attracting new businesses and supporting a highly-skilled workforce, these new developments increase the demand for property as a result of this.
Birmingham is a prime example of one of the best urban regeneration projects in the UK. Since the development of the iconic Bullring in 2003, the city has been undergoing a plethora of redevelopments. Evolving into the Big City Plan, this ambitious project has catalysed a 200% increase in property prices over the past 20 years.
As a result, we now know Birmingham as the UK’s second city – leading the way for employment opportunities, contemporary living and amenities. But besides Birmingham, what other regions are experiencing regeneration? Here, we explore Birmingham, Manchester, Derby, Shrewsbury and Bradford’s ambitious regeneration plans and assess how they are likely to benefit the local property market.
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High Speed 2 (HS2)
The Birmingham skyline has changed beyond measure over the last few decades, introducing new commercial highrises, iconic shopping centres and world class residential developments. While the city remains in the midst of its regeneration, it’s already proving to be a popular destination amongst tenants and investors.
The renowned Bullring catalysed the city’s regeneration 20 years ago, with the revitalisation of New Street Station and Grand Central following shortly after. Since then, the second city has become a thriving transport hub.
The Midlands Metro Expansion is another example of Birmingham’s dedication to becoming an interconnected hub – the past few years have connected the city centre with Edgbaston and Five Ways, with more stops scheduled for construction on the journey to Curzon Street and Brierley Hill. This transport project alone has the potential to push local property prices up significantly, with homes near transport networks experiencing significant price growth at 6% above the regional average according to Nationwide.
The increasing transport links across Birmingham are making the city’s expanding commercial district even more accessible. The Paradise project is one of Birmingham’s most well-known urban regeneration plans, which has already attracted several global businesses to the city centre. With the likes of PwC, Mazars and DLA Piper already occupying spaces in this premium office development, the city centre has seen a significant influx in employment opportunities.
The Colmore at St. Paul’s Square is the latest addition to Birmingham’s residential market, and will be a hotspot amongst the city’s growing demographic of working professionals. Conveniently located between the city centre and the Jewellery Quarter, this up and coming development is the epitome of high-end living. Similarly, the new SETL development in the nearby Jewellery Quarter is set to be an attractive prospect for graduates and young professionals looking to live in the heart of the city’s most stylish district.
The Our Future City plan for Birmingham is also proposing significant changes to the city. By splitting the city core into 5 sections, the plan aims to enhance Birmingham’s connectivity, accessibility and investment opportunities. The ambitious plan has pinpointed a range of areas for improvement, namely Snow Hill, Park Birmingham and the Western Gateway in the city core. This multi-phase regeneration plan should be compete by 2040.
Regeneration projects spread far and wide across Birmingham, with Birmingham Smithfield playing an integral part in the city’s exciting future. Situated in Digbeth, this ongoing regeneration scheme is catering to an expanding rental market. The project emerged from a £1.5 billion investment and will work towards transforming the neighbourhood into a mixed-used hub, full of commercial spaces, new public realms and residential units.
Birmingham Smithfield is one of many regeneration projects in Digbeth, but the HS2 Curzon Street Station is arguably the most exciting. HS2 is the biggest transport scheme in the UK, and Birmingham will play an integral part in the overall project. Reducing the commute between London and Birmingham to just 38 minutes, HS2 will build upon the connections between the two cities. With a forecasted completion date of 2026, this project will bring thousands of new jobs – and young professionals – to Birmingham, which in turn, will support the property market for the years to come.
Darley Street Market
The jewel in the northern powerhouse, Bradford has a vibrant and exciting future ahead of it – not only has it been hailed as the City of Culture for 2025, but a steady stream of regeneration projects look set to boost the local economy significantly.
Firstly, Darley Street Market in the heart of Bradford is undergoing huge regeneration. This indoor market will have the capacity for 100 vendors to come together and sell their food and wares, making this a hub for local businesses to flourish. The markets at Oastler and Kirkgate are undergoing demolition in order to make way for this new project, as well as to create space for the City Village.
City Village is yet another indoor space being created in Bradford – as well as creating new eco-friendly spaces in the core of the city, this mixed-use development opportunity will bring an additional 400 permanent jobs by 2024, 100 jobs in construction, 4,000 sq m of commercial space and an additional 1,000 sq m of green space.
Although shoppers and vendors will surely rejoice at the creation of City Village and Darley Street Market, lovers of art and culture are sure to flock to the upcoming Bradford Live venue. Bradford’s Odeon cinema complex is being converted into a huge live entertainment venue with a capacity of over 3,800 – an appropriate regeneration project for the City of Culture! The building will be operated by the NEC group, bringing live music, plays and shows to the heart of Yorkshire in time for Spring 2024.
Stunning Off-Plan Investment Opportunity
- Off-plan apartments – estimated completion 2023
- City-centre location just 3 minutes from Brindleyplace
- Unique waterfront living in Birmingham
- 24.5% price growth expected by 2026 (JLL)
- Top location for London leavers – forecasting yields above 5%
Following the 2002 Commonwealth Games, Manchester has been on an impressive upward trajectory. Hosting this worldwide spectacle enticed a wealth of inward investment, which has since seen many investors choose this Northern powerhouse for their buy-to-let investments.
There has been a focus on green, environmentally friendly projects across the city, with incorporating more green spaces across Manchester being a big focus for the local council. The Mayfield regeneration project is set to deliver the city’s first new public park in 100 years, along with new neighbourhoods and amenities.
NOMA is arguably the biggest urban regeneration project in Manchester, which will eventually deliver 4 million square feet of new office, retail and leisure spaces. With a £800 million investment, this project will transform Manchester into an attractive destination for young professionals, especially since the project is set to create over 6,000 jobs.
The MediaCityUK regeneration project – which is already underway – is similarly ambitious. £1 billion will be channelled into constructing 2,000 apartments and 540,000 sq ft of office space, and 10,000 jobs have already been created as the BBC have relocated to MediaCity already.
Lastly, amongst Manchester’s most exciting regeneration schemes is the redevelopment of the Northern Gate – a £9 billion investment project that will repurpose a 155 hectare site in central Manchester. By adding new homes, schools and public spaces along the Northern Gateway, this area of Manchester will be a breath of fresh air away from the city centre.
It is abundantly clear that Manchester is a fantastic place to invest if you’re hoping to purchase property in an ambitious, forward-thinking city with a brighter, greener future.
Becketwell Performance Venue
Castleward Urban Village
Derby has a colourful history that can be traced back to the industrial era. Housing the UK’s first factories and catalysing the Industrial Revolution, Derby has established a solid reputation for the East Midlands. While Derby is renowned for its history, the city continues to build upon its manufacturing links.
The manufacturing industry remains the biggest contributor to Derby’s local economy, with this sector alone providing around 45,000 jobs. Housing the likes of Rolls Royce, Bombardier Transportation and Toyota, Derby is a hub of highly-skilled workers.
As the economy continues to expand and highlights the potential of Derby, the city is experiencing more urban regeneration. The Derby City Centre Masterplan 2030 is at the centre of Derby’s future, and is gradually transforming it into a leading UK city.
Forecasting a completion date of 2030, this expansive scheme will deliver new retail hotspots, leisure facilities and prestigious residential developments. While the project alone will provide around 4,000 new jobs and 1,900 additional homes in the city centre, the Derby City Centre Masterplan also has ambitions of leveraging £3.5 billion of investment.
The Derby property market has long suffered from a chronic undersupply of property, and with the city’s ongoing regeneration enticing more residents and investors to the area, the demand for additional residential property is only growing.
As a result, the city’s Local Plan has been designed to help close this widening gap between supply and demand. With the intention of delivering 13,000 new residential neighbourhoods across Derby by 2028, in addition to 199 hectares of commercial land and 100,000 sqm of new office space, this is one of the best urban regeneration projects in the UK for 2024 and beyond.
Amongst Derby’s residential developments is Nightingale Quarter – an expansive project that is redefining the standards of living in the city. Comprising 800 contemporary apartments in the heart of the city centre, Nightingale Quarter is a thoughtful redevelopment of a historic landmark. Preserving two of the site’s iconic ‘pepper pots’, this development is ideal for those looking for contemporary living solutions with a rich heritage.
Leeds Integrated Station Masterplan
While the Midlands will always be an investment hotspot, Northern cities are beginning to entice more residents and investors. Leeds is one of many cities in the North that are emerging as buy-to-let hotspots with the help of extensive urban regeneration.
Leeds has been hailed for being one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, which when combined with its ongoing regeneration, is driving more businesses and professionals to the North. This thriving city is even an attractive alternative amongst London leavers – since 2018, Leeds has welcomed almost 10% of residents leaving the capital.
The Leeds train station is the biggest transport hub in the city, and is in the process of a multi-million pound regeneration project. The Leeds Integrated Station Masterplan will support forecasted growth in passengers, connect residents with new employment markets and catalyse further investment into the area.
As well as maximising transport links across Leeds, these urban regeneration projects will also expand the city’s core. The Lisbon Square scheme aims to increase the size of the city centre by delivering a combination of commercial, hotel and residential spaces.
Lastly is South Bank Leeds, a regeneration project set to create a huge 35,000 new jobs and 8,000 new homes once complete. Ultimately, South Bank Leeds has the aim of doubling the size of the city centre by redeveloping land that lies south of the River Aire. This 253 hectares of dilapidated industrial space is set to become a range of new developments – from mixed-use properties at Tower Works, to retail spaces at Leeds Docks, and the revival of Victoria Mills. The creation of more homes for Leeds’ locals is very necessary, with the city’s population set to grow by over 30,000 over the next two decades.