A bumper year at UKREiiF – our team reflects

GKRL UKReiiF blog image

Last week we headed to Leeds with our JV partner, Kajima, to attend and exhibit at the UK’s biggest real estate conference, UKREiiF as Genr8 Kajima Regeneration Limited – GKRL.

This was our second year at UKREiiF and it was bigger and better than ever!  It was an incredibly insightful three-day event with a number of important discussion topics and some very exciting meetings.

After a full-on week of networking, delivering presentations, contributing to panel sessions plus meeting up with many of our peers, we caught up with the team for the low-down on the conference and their key take-home from this year’s UKREiiF.

Firstly, we sat down with Alan Hall, Projects Director. Not only did Alan attend the conference, he delivered at and contributed to two very distinct events.

Hi Alan, what was the main theme you took home from UKREiiF this year?

There were a number of themes throughout the event, however a common thread throughout the week was around SMART tech and digital infrastructure, in order to future-proof developments.

This was of interest to us due to the key role it will play in our Health Innovation Neighbourhood project with Newcastle University. We need to ensure that the integration of digital technologies is seamless throughout the site – from smart homes to sensor-based infrastructure in the public realm.

The main benefit of this will be the ability to engage with and utilise connecting systems enabling residents, academics and visitors alike to get the best experience, as well as provide vital data into the way we interact and live as we age.

How did you find sitting on the NODE Technology panel?

These things are always daunting, however it was great to be part of an expert panel of speakers who each had their own perspective on how technology assists in pushing the envelope within the projects we deliver.

What was your key takeaway from the NODE discussion?

For me, it was interesting to validate that data is nothing without direction. Digital infrastructure is key to delivering the full range of possible smart solutions. The technology needs to be applicable to more than just the commercial workspace and they need to be bespoke to the project, whilst achieving real benefits for the users.

How can GKRL work together with NODE?

There are a number of projects that can benefit from a NODE technology solution. I am looking forward to watching up with Christian on how we can work together on our upcoming mixed use regeneration projects.

You also spoke on a Huyton panel, a key development area for GKRL. What was your favourite part of this discussion?

It was a privilege to share a microphone with Tony Clark, Assistant Executive Director of Development and Infrastructure from Knowsley Borough Council and shout about our exciting plans for a new mixed use commercial district in Huyton Town Centre.

The project we are undertaking here is huge with the potential to create 1,700 jobs and over £50 million for the local economy. Working in partnership with Knowsley Borough Council we are transforming a 7-acre site adjacent to Huyton’s Derby Road. The site will be anchored by a new Council HQ building with residential, office and hotel opportunities surrounding a new high quality public realm space for the local community.

It was great to see a strongly engaged audience with a number of stakeholders from the Liverpool City Region, including Steve Rotheram, the Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region.

We also caught up with our Development Director, Warwick Smither,  who really did put the hours in over the three days managing the stand and ensuring we were represented at all the key events.

Warwick, thank you for your time, tell us how did you find UKREiiF this year?

Once again UKREiiF didn’t fail to impress – giving everyone lots more to discuss!

The conference was a mixture of reflection and, more importantly, an opportunity to look to the future.

What was the main takeaway for GKRL?

For GKRL there was much to be proud of but also many new connections were made.  Numerous Councils made contact and wanted to talk about the opportunities they were bringing forward and where they needed tried and tested help from innovative and ambitious private sector partners, like us.

Whilst there was a lot of emphasis on ESG and social value, there was also a “go get” attitude permeating through the stands and halls…it felt like we are in a time to “do” not just talk!

What are you most looking forward to for UKREiiF 2024?

I am looking forward to building on this year’s strengths and conversations, seeing how projects have developed and working even more closely with other partners to share our knowledge of regeneration. I am sure a great deal of work will be undertaken in the coming 12 months with a number of regeneration projects underway.

Our JV Partners, Kajima, joined us for the three days. We asked Regeneration Director, Kate Pix to give us her review of the real estate conference which tripled in size for its second year.

How did you find UKREiiF? Tell me more about your experience.

It was good to see many more attendees from both the public and private sectors.  It would be good if we could increase the participation from the investor sector for year three.

What was the most interesting event/panel you attended?

One of the main themes of this year’s UKREiif was Health and Healthy Cities.  This topic links in with projects that GKRL are delivering, and it was great to attend so many interesting panels that allowed healthy debate on the subject.  The Healthy Cities, Healthy Infrastructure Panel was of particular interest as GKRL were able to promote our Health Innovation Neighbourhood. Still, we were also the only investor developer on the panel.

What was the best opportunity/outcome of UKREiiF for you/GKRL?

We had the opportunity to meet a large number of people from diverse areas of the industry. We were able to raise our brand awareness.  We enjoyed being part of several interesting panels and the encouraging participation from the audience and other panel members.

Will you attend UKREiiF again? What are you looking forward to in 2024?

We would like to see more engagement from the investor sector next year.

Finally we asked Tamsin Traill, Regeneration Director from Kajima, who also spent three days in Leeds promoting our JV schemes, about her experience and discussed some of the topics that really cut through this year.

Tamsin, How did you find UKREiiF? Tell me more about your experience

UKREiiF was a successful event for us this year, and you could see how much it had grown from last year’s inaugural event. There was a real sense of energy from the local authorities and all the other attendees who came and wanted to network and talk about real opportunities.

What was the most interesting event/panel you attended?

There were so many interesting events and panel talks focusing on social value and sustainability, as well as presentations by local authorities on the opportunities in their areas. For me, though, it was the networking between the events that made UKREiiF so successful. We met with local authorities, investors and other key partners and had some fascinating discussions about regeneration.

What was the best opportunity/outcome of UKREiiF for you/GKRL?

It was a chance to genuinely grow our brand and network. The event helped cement Genr8 Kajima Regeneration’s brand awareness across local authorities, especially demonstrating our recent successes and what we can deliver. At the same time, we created new relationships through panel discussions, people visiting our stand and the events we attended.

Will you attend UKREiiF again? What are you looking forward to in 2024?

We will definitely be back at UKREiiF next year. I’m hoping the connections we made this year will come full circle, and we’ll be talking about new projects which started from a conversation made at UKREiiF in 2023. It would also be great to see more young people attending and speaking at next year’s conference to promote the insights and views of the next generation.

If you would like to hear more from our team, please head over to Place North West and take a listen to our ‘Fireside’ chat which was recorded last week at the conference. Richard Ingham and Kate Pix delve into more details about the secrets to a successful JV partnership and some of our upcoming projects.

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