Simon Binns

Simon Binns

Business journalist Simon Binns, has given up his job as the Northern correspondent of the UK’s leading property trade publication, Estates Gazette, for a new role as manager of Manchester’s first Business Improvement District.

The Heart of Manchester Business Improvement District (BID) is due to launch launch later this month.

The initiative and its five year circa £1m per annum budget, is targeting an area – populated by approximately 380 retailers – stretching from New Cathedral Street to King Street and across to parts of Deansgate. However, only retailers with rateable premises value of over £50,000 or higher are members of the BID.

The BID’s objective is to increase footfall and retail spend in the core area and Binns and his team of eight ‘Welcome Hosts’ will work alongside CityCo to create and deliver a range of promotional  and relationship initiatives.

Binns has worked as a journalist in Manchester for several years, following his earlier career in London working in the football industry.

He was the first editorial recruit onto Crain’s Manchester Business and he has also worked at the BBC in Salford.

He joined Estates Gazette last summer.

He acknowledged that the career change was quite radical but he told Prolific North that: “It was the size of the challenge that really excited me.

“Having been a business journalist in Manchester for such a long period, it struck me that this job could enable me to bring together much of my previous experience reporting and commenting on business and commercial activity in Manchester, in a way that would allow me to work with the property sector, the council and the broader ‘Manchester family’, in arguably an even more fulfilling sense than before.”

Jane Sharrocks, general manager of Selfridges Exchange Square and chair of the BID company added: “It’s great to have Simon on board to drive this new initiative forward. He‘s in tune with how Manchester works and knows the retail and wider business community well. His energy and drive will be vital in bringing forward this ambitious programme of activity designed to ensure continued economic prosperity for the city.

“The BID seeks to celebrate Manchester, to make it a more engaging and accessible place to visit and in which to do business. We want to strengthen the brand and build on our reputation as the UK’s best regional destination for shopping.”