March 29, 2022
If a week is a long time in politics, then two years in real estate is practically a lifetime. Time enough for an opportunity for MIPIM, the property world’s annual gathering in Cannes to reset itself post-pandemic. Unlike back in London where British Land had offered up space for Ukrainian care packages at its Paddington Central Campus and Quintain also pledge to make space at its Wembley Park space (as reported by Estates Gazette), unfortunately such correct reading of the room wasn’t the case on the Croisette.
The demographic of the 20,000 delegates from over 80 countries remained resolutely white and male, and perhaps mostly over 40. No wonder the @MIPIMLads Twitter account was able to gain such traction, mercilessly mocking various all-male panels and festivities.
Some things did change though not necessarily for the better. The London stand, traditionally one of the key parts of the UK’s presence felt a little on the lacklustre side under new management, especially without the London model, previously the proud centrepiece of what’s colloquially known as the ‘Bunker’
The Paris stand, on the other hand, was buzzing, perhaps with a pre-Olympics pep with the Games arriving in the French capital in just over two years. The organisers there also positioned conversations and interviews in the centre of the space which increased the dynamism.
The UK Pavilion encompassing several different government departments including Trade, Homes England the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The latter informed much of the programme content around UK cities, devolution and inward investment. And sandwiched between the UK pavilion and the London stand? Why the Invest Saudi stand of course.
One of most vocal ways the UK was flying the flag was as a ’science superpower’, leading the way in life sciences in what’s known as the Golden Triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge and also the opportunities available in other regional cities, how the delivery model differs in different cities and how what the challenges are. There’s no doubt we’ll be hearing more about the growth of this sector in the coming months and years.
ESG? WFH? WTF?
One other theme that dominated proceedings throughout all typologies but especially workplace was Environmental Social Governance (ESG) From investors at the Reinvest summit who were debating the latest investment strategies, trends, and challenges on the ways to integrate ESG into sustainable investment decision making through the word on the Croisette among all parts of the property food chain this three-letter acronym seems set to replace WFH as the real estate world’s favourite.
Hybrid working was still on the agenda to some extent especially with many occupiers now questioning their commitment to space and the impact this has on the market with the the use of technology, the importance of sustainability and what else landlords can do to secure leasing opportunities all key talking points.
Hybrid working was still on the agenda to some extent especially with many occupiers now questioning their commitment to space
And, though absent (and no doubt missed) at MIPIM this year, Charlie Green and his The Office Group (TOG) co-founder were no doubt the subject of quite a few conversations in Cannes as TOG announced its merger with Fora that same week. The combined group would comprise 72 locations totalling 3.1 million sq. ft. across London and in Cambridge, Oxford, Reading, Bristol, Leeds, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg with plans to expand into other European cities.
It was interesting to note that Borough Yards, which scooped Best Urban Project in the MIPIM awards, will include two new office buildings to be operated by TOG also located within the scheme according to a press statement from the end of 2021. This large-scale new shopping and dining district located directly adjacent to the historic Borough Market in London Bridge will provide a wealth of retail and dining options does too but in terms of workspace is a blueprint for the way mixed-use workspace schemes are going?
While glitz and glamour is ingrained in this part of the south of France, Rennie Dalrymple, managing director, Concert says, “There are many different versions of the MIPIM experience and whilst given world events the mood was appropriately more restrained (in places) but it was evident that the appetite for face to face meetings with peers and clients is well and truly alive! With, in-person conversations restored, the business sentiments for the property sector and construction industry in the conference centre and along La Croisette were refreshingly positive and upbeat, as we look to 2022 and beyond.”
Anthony Brown, sales and marketing director, BW adds, “MIPIM was almost surprisingly upbeat. The initially surreal feeling of being back in Cannes after a 3-year absence soon faded and the optimism became infectious.”
In summary, there were generously hosted lunches and dinners that were undoubtedly useful to reconnect people and enthuse the market and there’s no doubt that these moments have enormous value. The actual MIPIM show however is sadly lagging behind.