Leicester’s economy shrunk by 12.2% in 2020 and has recently seen the likes of high street giant Debenhams close its doors – leaving people questioning whether the city can ever truly recover in a post-pandemic world.
A great time for businesses to invest in Leicester
What cities need to see now is people returning in numbers to live and work in them – those who want to get out and enjoy all that city living has to offer in terms of retail, hospitality and new experiences. This will, in turn, seed new businesses and encourage investment by existing ones.
Leicester is no exception. As long as it is done right, the city centre will bounce back. It will be different to how it was ten years ago, but there’s also the opportunity to make it more vibrant, exciting and diverse.
Without city living, Leicester will not thrive as much as it could and should. As well as supporting local businesses, it will bring inspiration and passion to the city and also boost visitation – bringing in more tourists and, ultimately, making Leicester the go-to place in the East Midlands.
Building projects in the city
One part of the solution is coming into place already. For some time, the city has needed quality living space that people of all ages – but perhaps, particularly the young – will want to be in. With this demographic in mind, it is great to see some really exciting ‘build to rent’ schemes, some of which have been led by clients of Nelsons, coming through to completion. These schemes aren’t just about places to live – they provide places to socialise, integrate and recreate, and are about as far removed from one’s old perception of a block of flats can be.
As restrictions continue to ease, people will begin returning to their everyday lives, with those in the city wanting to take full advantage of the area and enjoy what Leicester has to offer. From plug-in and workspaces to innovative bar and experience ventures, I’m delighted to say we are also advising several really visionary organisations that can see the potential demand for high-quality hospitality and ‘experience’ offerings in our city centre; these organisations are investing in these types of innovative businesses to get ahead of the curve
With a multitude of innovative businesses coming to the fore, it’s also critically important for inner-city transport to be on top form, making it easier for people to come into Leicester and take advantage of these new opportunities.
Now is a great time to invest in Leicester’s city centre, as long as the ideas and subsequent execution are right. The city has a great foundation and lots to be proud of – and we have a wonderful opportunity to be part of its next evolution.