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Thursday, April 06, 2006
Manchester best for business - and mad for Urban Splash, too.
In the cheesily-named Britain's Best Cities report, Manchester is this year apparently best for business above London even. One of the major drivers that has seen Manchester crowned the best has been the increasing rate of inward investment secured in recent years. MIDAS, Manchester's Investment Agency, has helped deliver a number of high profile investments in the last two years, including the Bank of New York, Shimadzu (hi-tech scientific equipment) and The Standards Board for England.

It's a very American approach, levering in high-value employers through tax breaks and cosy deals with the council. Smacks of Wal-Mart-ism (of which more interesting news here which I'll comment on in a separate post. Something about it makes my hackles rise - while I know investment is a Good Thing, the cushy-ness seems to confuse the public interest with a quantitative evaluation of 'success'.

But for all their new-found corporate zeal, Mancunians are still mad for it. Hundreds of them have been camping out in a carpark in an attempt to secure the 108 units that Urban Splash are selling in Salford - the famous (and rather fantastic) scheme of two-up two-down terraces gutted and remodelled by Shed KM. And the houses don't even go on sale till Saturday!

So to Prescott and his demolition programme, aka Pathfinder - who says that housing market renewal means demolishing terracced houses in mill towns? He could have the biggest property boom going, if only he had the imagination.

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