Open-access content Monday 29th March 2010
29 March 2010
by Anna King
Gill Parker, joint managing director of BDGworkfutures explains: “Although significantly quieter than former years, 2009 and 2010 has proven that the serious players see Mipim as part of ‘business as normal’. Stripping away the glitz (but not all of it!) and the expensive parties has proven that at its core, Mipim is a potent forum for serious business.”
Better but still cautious
The general consensus was that we are now recovering albeit slowly and unsteadily. Research from Jones Lang LaSalle’s (JLL) European Capital Markets Bulletin forecasts direct investment in real estate will increase by between 20 to 30 per cent on 2009 levels which reached 62.9bn euros. “The growth we are expecting to see this year will be fuelled by an improvement in the availability of debt, the recognition that pricing has probably hit or even passed its floor, slightly more appetite for risk taking and more assets coming to the market,” said Chris Staveley, director of JLL’s EMEA capital markets.
Each year at Mipim there tends to be one country that dominates. A few years ago it was Dubai for its sheer volume and speed of lavish developments and in more recent years Russia has taken centre stage. Notably this was the case this year, inevitably there were fewer exhibitors and those present were far more evenly spread across the globe. This combined with the talk and predictions for an upturn not being discussed on a pan-European, cross sector level, is a reflection of how the property world has regrouped and reorganised to leverage a recovery. It is clear that in today’s environment that reliance on one geographical market or indeed one sector is an unsustainable objective.
Global and local
Jonathan White, managing director of Turner & Townsend Europe agrees that a global approach to business is necessary. Not only does it minimise the effect of the global recession, but also provides clients with opportunities to rationalise their supplier base, obtain a consistent service and increase efficiencies. He explained that geographical diversification, as well as offering a broad service base across multiple sectors is crucial to success. We have undoubtedly benefited from this, as it has enabled our business to respond to specific economic conditions across the various global markets; allowing us to take advantage in regions that have been less affected by the downturn.
Referring directly to Mipim, White said: “This approach fosters an atmosphere of sharing and support amongst the property industry. I have witnessed far more listening at Mipim, rather than merely hearing”.
That is not to say of course that opportunities were not seized to highlight strengths in particular marketplaces. Regular crowd pleaser Boris Johnson highlighted that London is a city built by private developers and speculators and that the role of government is to create the right platform for this to continue to succeed. Johnson also rather boldly said that London was ahead of schedule with its plan to host the 2012 Olympic games. And commenting on the news that the UK will succeed Poland as Mipim 2011 Guest of Honour Johnson told delegates: “I’m delighted that the choice of Country of Honour has been bestowed on the UK for next year’s Mipim. UK cities, led by London, play an enormous role in Mipim’s success each year.”
The green stuff
Sustainability was still a subject being debated with delegates painfully aware of the Carbon Reduction Commitment that comes into play on 1st April and the implications that has for real estate management. Enlightened developers and landlords are all very clear about what this means for them and you can be sure they will be acting swiftly. There was a recognition from Michael Brooks, CEO of the Real Property Association of Canada that Australia and Europe are way ahead of North America, with companies possessing a far better understanding of carbon use and corporate social responsibility.
Stockholm was celebrating its well deserved accolade as European Green Capital 2010 following an assessment of a range of indicators including transport policy relating to climate change, waste management and biodiversity. Stockholm was an early adopter of all things sustainable and has an established district heating system and water and waste management have been on the political agenda for some time now – an example to the rest of the world of the benefits to be gained from a long term commitment.
Many question Mipim and its real value in business terms to those other than the developers and the banks. It is easy to understand why, when the threat of redundancies and real compromises on spend are still being made. Yet, Mipim endures and this is why – in the space of three days it is possible to converse with the broadest slice possible from the property industry. It is this mix that ascertains the confidence in the marketplace, from fund managers, investors, developers to architects and contractors, consequently it sets the tone for the hot topics and trends, in terms of countries and sectors, that will dictate much of the conversation for the year that follows. That is why in a tough market, as the Mipim attendee numbers decrease, the event becomes more vital.
The Mipim Awards Winners 2010
In the category BUSINESS CENTRES
GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals - Odyssey W23
Architect: ASSAR Architects
Developer/Owner: GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals
In the category REFURBISHED OFFICE BUILDINGS
STIB / MIVB Headquarters
Architect: ASSAR Architects
Developer: STIB / MIVB
In the category RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENTS
Marco Polo Tower
Architect: Behnisch Architekten
Developers: DC Residential GmbH & Co. KG / Hochtief Projektentwicklung GmbH
In the category HOTELS & TOURISM RESORTS
Kameha Grand Bonn
Architects: Karl-Heinz Schommer and Marcel Wanders
Developer: BonnVisio Real Estate GmbH
In the category GREEN BUILDINGS
Architect: ASSAR Architects
Developer: Herpain Urbis
Investor: Fidentia Real Estate Investments
The Special Award of the Jury was attributed to:
Square Brussels Meeting Centre
Architect: A2RC Architects
Developer: Palais des Congrès sa
And for the first time, the Mipim Awards Jury paid special tribute to a Polish project, Poland being Mipim’s Guest of Honour this year:
andel's Hotel Lodz
Architect: OP Architekten ZT GmbH
Developer and investor: Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs AG
The members of this year’s MIPIM Awards Jury were:
• President of the Jury: Bärbel Schomberg, Schomberg & Co. Real Estate Consulting GmbH, Germany
• Mr. Max Crofts, President, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – RICS, UK
• Mrs. Manuelle Gautrand, Architect, Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, France
• Dr. Ann Heywood, Principal, College of Estate Management, UK
• Mr. Olivier Piani, Chief Executive Officer, Allianz Real Estate, France
• Mr. Mickael Strong, Chairman & CEO – EMEA, CB Richard Ellis, UK
• Mr. Mario Tomaselli, Facilities Engineering & Real Estate Manager EMEA, 3M, Italy
Anna King is a freelance journalist