Associate Partner Lucy Holbrook took the trip to Cannes for property conference MIPIM this week. Here’s her round-up of the week…
MIPIM brings together 25,000-odd property developers, agents, investors and others involved in the sector in Cannes for a week of networking and deal making. Whilst many criticise the lavish location for the conference and the number of parties – MIPIM still remains the place where a lot of business gets done and is a must attend for many in the sector. Even former Manchester United and England footballer Gary Neville was in attendance to speak to delegates about his growing property empire. Notably however London Mayor Boris Johnson wasn’t present to bang the investment drum for London – the first time he hasn’t attended since he was elected Mayor, but as we all know Boris has something more important in mind – namely an election campaign in Uxbridge and South Ruislip.
Key themes to take away from the fringe were the role of technology and innovation in development and how cities need to perform to stay ahead of the game. Notably, in a year when devolution has been of the forefront of minds here in the UK, many of our cities and regions were present to make the case for further devolution of power. ‘Northern Powerhouse’ Manchester was represented in force – even taking over one of the local bars – to showcase their strategy for regeneration. A number of events attended by UK cities discussed the need for more control over budgets so they could allocate resources in the most effective way to attract further inward investment.
The second conference since the recent global economic upturn after a wobbly couple of years for the sector showed that MIPIM really was back to its buzzy best. Significant numbers of planners, architects and lawyers alongside developers and investors back in attendance and a full conference hall proved that the market really was back. Though a note for next year’s attendees – reports suggested that the French have been complaining that MIPIM feels like an “undertakers’ conference” because of the number of dark suits in Cannes – so don’t forgot to pack your lounge wear!