Belfast adds EU proximity to its list of investment attractions

The overall vision for Belfast city and region has been to build key assets and capabilities.

“In the last number of years we’ve had real success in attracting inward investment but also attracting investment locally in some of our key tech sectors, including focusing and building on cyber security, but also in new industries like the creative Industries as well as life and health sciences,” said Damien Martin, Strategic Director of Place and Economy, Belfast City Council.

Talking to Real Asset Insight’s Richard Betts, Martin explained that the vision for the region is built on it being a “really good place to live, work and invest”.

There is also a focus on investment in tourism in which there has been rapid growth and a significant recovery. However, “liveability” is an increasing priority for the city and the region: ensuring that there is a sufficient supply of affordable houses in which people can live.

“We’ve had significant successes in that and major Investments in student housing accommodation and we’re starting to see new opportunities both in terms of affordable housing and build-to-rent properties,” Martin explained.

Belfast is also benefitting from its status as a bridge to the EU.

“Going forward, that’s a real asset,” Martin said adding that at the recent MIPIM real estate event delegates were asking what opportunities stem from that. “We’ve now got the opportunity where you can both come and invest in Northern Ireland, be part of the UK market unfettered, but you also can be part of the European market unfettered.”

“As well as our offer in terms of highly skilled young people and a relatively young population, we’ve now got an additional offer to put out there, to encourage people to come and invest in the region.”