Manchester at MIPIM: Q&A with Phil Marsden Managing Director North West Muse

Phil Marsden Managing Director North West at Muse Developments explains why they have chosen to attend MIPIM with the Manchester Invest Partnership, shares his insights on the future of placemaking and the transformative projects Muse is working on to support Greater Manchester's future ambitions.

Greater Manchester's local authorities have a long legacy of creating strong partnerships to support the future of placemaking. These private sector partners share the region's vision for a greener, fairer and more prosperous future but also come with a creative and strong vision of their own.

Muse is a private sector partner that has worked closely with Salford City Council, Stockport Council and Oldham Council to deliver projects that will share the future.

Ahead of MIPIM 2024, we spoke to Phil Marsden, Managing Director North West at Muse to discuss why they've chosen to join the Manchester Delegation this year but also to share his thoughts on the future of Greater Manchester and the transformative projects that will support it.

Read the interview with Phil below:

Why is it important for you to attend MIPIM 2024 with Manchester?

MIPIM remains one the most important global property forums, with opportunities to form new relationships with organisations and regions both across the UK and internationally – with the clear aim to secure investment in Manchester and the North West.

By joining with colleagues and organisations across Greater Manchester, we can come together to present a shared vision and a united proposition for potential investors. As always, we are more successful when we work in partnership.

What do you think is the biggest change in Greater Manchester over the last decade?

The devolution powers in Greater Manchester have strengthened our ability to come together as a region and think strategically. It’s enabled the region to attract investment and be even more competitive on the global stage.

Why do you think Manchester has seen such great success over the last decade?

Manchester continues to demonstrate an ability to deliver. Manchester has the fundamental criteria which underpin strong growth – being connected, with exceptional universities, innovation and a diverse arts and cultural scene. There is an incredibly strong business community, and a diverse, young population. Manchester has also successfully leveraged devolution to ensure more decisions can be made locally in a way which promotes growth in the areas which need it.

On top of this, Manchester has developed a very clear brand and vision with exceptionally strong leadership. This is attracting international profile and proposition which really helps attract global investors. Manchester is helped by some fantastic assets – for example, two of the best football clubs in the world – and a world-famous diverse cultural scene.

What can placemakers and property developers do to continue this success and accelerate growth over the next decade?

Keep working in partnership, both with private sector partners and the public sector. The private sector can have an incredible impact and deliver fantastic new places, but to be successful we must work with local authorities and the Combined Authority to deliver a combined strategy and vision.

What do you expect to be the biggest challenges Greater Manchester will face while driving growth at scale?

Viability remains a considerable challenge especially in delivering low energy, high quality affordable housing outside of the city centre. Providing significant levels of affordable housing is crucial to the on-going success of GM.

Delivering on the 2040 infrastructure framework will be crucial to ensure GM meets it’s net zero goals and growing places are well connected with sustainable infrastructure. This will require significant funding.

Why is sustainability important in the future of Greater Manchester?

Being at the forefront of sustainability is crucial for the success of GM. Delivering infrastructure, buildings and places that are low energy, biodiverse, accessible in a sustainable way will ensure GM continues to create places that benefit the people and communities.

The socio-economic impact of providing low energy social /affordable housing is clear. Providing people with good quality affordable homes that are cheap to run will benefit communities in GM and provide better opportunities for the next generation.

Inclusive growth is a huge focus for Greater Manchester going forward, as the local authorities want to make sure everyone feels the benefit of the city’s success why is this important and how can placemaking help?

Good placemaking is fundamental to inclusive growth. It’s about creating genuine benefits to society creating affordable homes, jobs and public spaces. Ultimately if the number of graduates in GM continue to feel GM is a place they can continue to live and find skilful employment this will create significant benefits for Manchester and the GM towns.

As placemakers we understand how to deliver successful places, but it is working in partnership with local authorities which truly unlocks the positive social impact. Together we can respond effectively to local challenges and take advantage of local opportunities.

What projects are you working on that will be transformative to the future of Greater Manchester and its residents?

Greenhaus, which is part of our Salford Central development being delivered in partnership with Salford City Council. Greenhaus is the largest Passivhaus-certified development in the North West. The 96 affordable homes will use 70-90% less energy that traditional homes. The homes will create a healthy environment for people to live with exceptional levels of air quality and helps residents reduce their bills and their carbon footprint.

What are you most excited about for the future of Greater Manchester?

There are so many opportunities ahead of us, how we come together as a city and region to take advantage of them is critical. Working in partnership is the only way to make them happen, and with the powers of GM, the clear vision and strong leadership we collectively leverage the power and money that delivers is exciting.

Why should international investors attending MIPIM 2024 consider doing business in Greater Manchester?

Manchester delivers and knows how to get things done. GM is unashamedly pro-growth and pro-investment. We find solutions to problems and work in partnership to achieve impactful outcomes. Any investor will be met with a warm welcome and a can-do attitude – saying nothing of the major opportunities which waiting to be unlocked.

To view more about the panels that Phil will be speaking on, view the Manchester at MIPIM 2024 programme.

To keep up with what's happening at MIPIM 2024, make sure you're following @mcrMIPIM on X.