MIPIM, the world’s leading property market, will bring together the most influential players from international property sectors. I personally have worked with both public and private sectors to present a unified proposition for Scottish investment opportunities at MIPIM since 2003. This activity has led directly to a number of significant developments including St James Quarter, New Waverley, Custom House Quay and many more.

This year’s event sees an even more closely aligned Team Scotland, with the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Cities Alliance, Scottish Property Federation, and Scotland’s private sector, joining forces to strengthen our presence and propositions.

When it comes to Waterfronts, the project we are best known for is our work in Dundee. Dundee Waterfront is home to a £1bn regeneration project in which Robertson is currently active on a number of sites. We have been on site since September 2017 and are due to complete the current projects in the summer 2019. Dundee City Council in partnership with Scottish Enterprise is acting as the champion and place investor in Dundee Waterfront, which is a public interest led investment.

Other Waterfront opportunities are gaining momentum around Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and elsewhere. These have the potential to be big and exciting projects. With the exception of Dundee Waterfront, over the last few years, the public sector has largely moved away from direct participation in this kind of project. The preference being to act in an enabling role through policy and planning, with development responsibilities being left to the private sector.

The Scottish Land Commission, in a paper published in March 2018, stated that private sector developers are often criticised in the UK, but current models of public-private partnerships can hold the public sector back from a full participatory role, moving to a more reactive model that relies on policy and contractual relationships. A better outcome for all involved would be a collaborative partnership model, in which the public sector invests in partnerships alongside the private sector, maintaining control by combining assets and skills to achieve public interest objectives.

In my role as facilitator, I will be challenging panellists and those in the audience on our thinking particularly the scale of our ambition and our ability to develop and deliver. At Robertson, we believe that this collaborative approach with input from institutional funders looking to invest in Scotland, could be a significant step change. There is plenty will for innovation in the public sector around development opportunities and how funding can be raised and utilised.

Whether you agree or not, it will make for a healthy and necessary debate at MIPIM.

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