A few clouds over the beach

Around 20,000 delegates from over 80 countries turned up at the MIPIM real estate fair in mid-March after a three-year break. The face-to-face networking and in-person events were supposed to represent the end of the pandemic and the return to normal business relations, but the shadow of the war in Ukraine hung over the fair

For the record, it should be stated that a year ago a fair was also held in Cannes, but due to the pandemic restrictions it was only on a very modest scale. This year, MIPIM attracted over 360 speakers, with 2,400 companies exhibiting at more than 350 stands and pavilions across the 18,500 sqm exhibition area. Delegates from France made up the largest contingent, followed by the UK and then Germany.

Exhibitors and participants from Russia were excluded from the fair, their extravagant tents and expositions replaced by those of others countries (for example, Egypt). However, the beach in front of the Festival Palace was not entirely filled with tents – the guests showed themselves made a point of highlighting “the Russian hole”. Also, the quarter usually occupied by exhibitors from Ukraine looked unusual – an exhibition devoted to the war in Ukraine took place in the empty stands. This point also became the venue for expressing support for the Ukrainian nation, which was attended by several hundred participants.

Despite the shadow cast by the war, the event proceeded in an atmosphere of optimism. The real estate market is recovering after the pandemic and even a military conflict in Europe does not seem to threaten the bright future of the investment market – such was the prevailing view. Investors comprised a quarter of delegates to MIPIM, including those from top funds and real estate investors from across the globe. As the real estate sector becomes ever more integral to the success of cities and societies, 150 city leaders from around the world participated at MIPIM.

This year the ‘Driving Urban Change’ was the conference theme promoted by the sector, aimed at exploring the challenges of climate change, affordability, liveability and technological innovation in cities. François Hollande, the former French president, opened the conference with a keynote address, declaring that: “We must build more housing and densify our cities – and for this we must remove the apprehensions about building permits. The next crises to come will be related to climate change. It is public leaders who have the responsibility to avoid or at least reduce the climate crisis.”

Former French prime minister Édouard Philippe shared his vision of the city of the future, and what the role of political leaders should be in this transformation. “Imagining what the city of tomorrow could be is like making a bet on what will happen in the future. We must re-engage with reality. The future is uncertain and the city must always adapt,” he admitted.

With driving urban change as its main theme, sustainability and ESG were at the heart of many of the debates across the three-day programme. More than ever, the consensus across was how the sector could tackle the risks posed by climate change, achieve net zero and net positive developments, and ensure that positive social outcomes are embedded into real estate decision making. Guy Grainger, the global head of sustainability and ESG at JLL, said: “You have to relate everything back to the people in the buildings, because that’s what tenants are interested in. How can you ensure that this is an attractive place for people to work? And when they’re here, that they’re productive, healthy and really happy.”

MIPIM also announced that Nicolas Kozubek is to become the new director of MIPIM following Ronan Vaspart’s five-year tenure. For the past four years, Nicolas Kozubek has headed up MIPIM’s proptech and innovation event Propel, and now he takes the helm at MIPIM at a critical time for real estate, as it experiences dramatic changes accelerated by technology. As Ronan Vaspart explained: “This year MIPIM has shown that the need for physical events and face-to-face meetings is as strong as ever. After the pandemic, as the real estate sector recovers and looks forward to the challenges of the future, we are encouraged by the strong attendance we have seen from the investment community as well as a major commitment, across the sector, to ESG principles and building back better. I’m delighted to be handing over to Nicolas and look forward to seeing how his amazing work at Propel will support the transformation and continued innovation of MIPIM.”

The MIPIM Awards ceremony is traditionally the highlight of the real estate investment fair. Two statuettes each at this year’s MIPIM Awards went to Italy, France and Denmark, while the accolades in the remaining categories were shared by architects from Belgium, Switzerland, Turkey, Sweden, the UK and China. The only winner from the CEE region was the House of Music project in Budapest, which received a special jury award.

The MIPIM Award in the ‘Best Office & Business Development’ category went to the new headquarters of BNP Paribas Fortis in Montagne du Parc, Brussels, designed by a consortium of Baumschlager Eberle Architekten, Styfhals and Jaspers-Eyers Architects. The Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus, Switzerland won in the ‘Best Cultural & Sports Infrastructure’ category, the developer of which was Audemars Piguet, while the architect was BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

In addition to this, a consortium comprising İstanbul PPP Sağlik Yatirim, Renaissance Holding, Renaissance Healthcare Investment and Sojitz Healthcare was the winner in the ‘Best Healthcare Development’ category for the Başakşehir Çam Ve Sakura City Hospital in Istanbul, which was built according to a design by the Perkins & Will (Consept) studio. The title of ‘Best Hotel & Tourism Resort’ went to the Casa di Langa complex in Cerretto Langhe in Italy (developer: Gentile Ospitalità; architects: GaS Studio and Parisotto Formenton Architetti), while the LCP Trecate complex, also in Italy (developer: Logistics Capital Partners; architect: The Blossom Avenue Partners) picked up the statuette for ‘Best Industrial & Logistics Development’.

Frederiksberg Allé 41 in Copenhagen was voted ‘Best Mixed-Use Development’ (developer: Union Holding and NRE Denmark; architect: Cobe), while the Æbeløen project located in Aarhus, also in Denmark (developer: Raundahl & Moesby; architect: Cebra architects) was named ‘Best Residential Development’. Also, the Astoriahuset and Nybrogatan 17 project in central Stockholm (developer: Humlegården; architect: 3XN) was the ‘Best Refurbished Building’, according to the Cannes jury.

The Cap 3.000 complex in Saint-Laurent-du-Var, France (developer: Altarea; architect: Groupe-6) was chosen as the ‘Best Shopping Centre’, while London Borough Yards (developer: Mark; architect: Spparc) was the ‘Best Urban Project’. The Arboretum complex in Nanterre, France (developer: WO2; architects: Leclercq Associes, Dream, Nicolas Laisné Architectes, Hubert & Roy Architectes) was awarded the title of ‘Best Futura Project’, while the ‘Best Futura Mega Project’ went to the Hangzhou Alibaba Damo Academy Nanhu Industry Park in Hangzhou, China, for its technologically advanced offices, laboratories, conference and exhibition centres (developer: Jiachuan Technology; architect: Aedas). The MIPIM jury’s special prize went to the House of Music in Budapest (developer: Varosliget; architect: Sou Fujimoto Architects).

MIPIM will return to Cannes on March 14–17th, 2023.

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