UK – Plans for regeneration of major rail stations along the UK's proposed second high-speed train link could offer pension investors opportunities in "manageable chunks", the project's commercial director has said.
Discussing potential private sector investment in the line while speaking at the inaugural infrastructure conference hosted by IPE and Stirling Capital Partners in London, HS2 Limited's Beth West noted that the current 2033 deadline for phase two – which could see the line extended to Manchester and Leeds beyond its currently agreed terminus in Birmingham – was "an awfully long time" for investors to wait for passengers to begin using the service.
She said the company nevertheless considered whether it would be possible to attract private capital to the project rather than rely solely on the UK government to fund the project, the first stage of which was estimated in 2011 to cost £17.1bn (€20.4bn).
"We've pretty much come to the conclusion that, because of the numbers, the complexity and the construction duration, the answer is probably 'no'," West told attendees.
"It just seems too big, and there hasn't really been the capacity in the markets to be able to deliver something of this scale, particularly with that time of a construction duration."
However, West added that investors could benefit from the "virtuous circle" of rising property prices in developments adjacent to stations once plans for the redevelopment of the respective areas were finalised.
"We don't know yet in terms of what we are looking for from the private sector and pension fund investment yet – we haven't sized up the need," she said.
"This is very much about how ambitious is the regeneration scheme around these stations, and we haven't settled on that yet.
"We will be emerging with those kinds of numbers over the coming months.
"There will be potentially location-by-location investments, rather than one big one, so there will be much more manageable chunks."