MIPIM UK – a bit of a blur, all of a triumph

When-Rio-met-JackieSooooo… MIPIM UK 2015.  Well, it’s all a bit of a blur really…

So much HAPPENED!

Olympia: well it may not be Cannes, but 2015 proved that 2014 was not a fluke, and it sure does work for us.  The promised protesters were not exactly out in force (perhaps, like in my student days, the Trots still can’t get out of bed until lunchtime?).  And once you were in, it was BIG.  And there was a palpable buzz in the hall.

So… just in the first couple of hours… Lord Francis Maude makes the keynote address and then leads the large group of Chinese investors to meet our cities, snaking around the stands.  The two LEPs covering Stoke-Cheshire launch their “Northern gateway”: 100,000 new homes and 120,000 new jobs (what’s not to like?) with Baroness Susan Williams signing a concordat with the two LEP chairs to work together to leverage the opportunities of HS2 coming to Crewe. Worcestershire has a lot of investment opportunities, but also a Morgan sports car on display (which is bought within half an hour, by a Chinese developer, despite NOT being for sale).  We have wise words from Adam Challis of Jones Lang LaSalle on Northern gateway. And Lord Heseltine reminiscing about his first trip to China. We enjoy warm support from Steve Norris of BNP Paribas Real Estate. And a below-radar visit from Rio Ferdinand (Tim Garratt of Innes England: “Jackie, you do know he is a person, and NOT a government department?”) with a stylish offer for local authorities…

And then later as we all started weaving…

Life’s rich tapestry is here.  The running jokes.  Old friends.  New friends.  Introducing people to their own brother-in-law.  Everything is hilarious.  Champagne.  Pink wine.  Whisky tasting with the Scots.  Beers from Derbyshire.  Ashford has both beer (Chapel Down, liberally handed out) and is aggressively marketing new investment opportunities, refusing to let a soul get past.  Knowsley… well you sure have to admire their style.  Big party at Somerset House with Our Friends from the North.  Roger Holman of UKTI RIO sobbing as he shows us his daughter’s wedding photographs on the UKTI stand…

And what of the grand collaborations?  Well, Stoke-Cheshire captured a lot of imagination as brand new to market.  But the northern powerhouse came into its own, as Liverpool and Manchester exhibit together (the importance of this was certainly not wasted on the Daddy of Urban Regeneration).  And the Midlands engine wasn’t to be left out, with Birmingham Awarded “City of the Year” by Melanie Leech of the British Property Federation at the EG Awards; Albert Bore attended to take receipt (bloody but emphatically unbowed). Nottingham and Derby exhibit in proximity to each other, and take that collaboration further again with their “Power of Three” programme with Leicester (and bravo there). “Invest in Norfolk” and “Greater Ipswich” exhibit at MIPIM for the first time, but also, crucially, in proximity to each other, in the hope of furthering the cause of Norfolk-Suffolk devolution; in response, EG’s Damian Wild invents the “The eastern promise”.

The Scots are in force with their Scottish cities alliance (and their city deals); and the impressive Cardiff model once again takes pride of place.  Alongside Lord Maude and Baroness Williams, the government offers further support in the shape of Marcus Jones, minister responsible for the Midlands engine, who tours the stands; Brandon Lewis, minister for housing, spoke at the occupiers’ lunch and gives the exhibitors great comfort that housing growth will be nurtured and encouraged; and secretary of state Greg Clark, having so commanded the show last year for his devolution agenda, addresses the “Regional magnetism” seminar for the BPF alongside BPF vice-president Paul Brundage of Oxford Properties, who gives some interesting insights on Vancouver’s devolution and the ensuing market stimulus…

But what of the agents?  Well, BNP Paribas and Jones Lang LaSalle clearly take it all very seriously, and made a major contribution, and well done them. But shame on those who didn’t. They are missing a trick.  If it isn’t abundantly clear by now that value uplift can be readily achieved in cities and conurbations throughout the UK, and not just in London and the South East, then folks in our game only have themselves to blame. Get with the programme, guys.

MIPIM UK… Yes it was FULL ON.  And is now all a bit of a blur.  I might be a tad weary this week as I crawl back to the department.  But, there is no doubt, it was a huge success for all concerned.  Better, even, than the triumphant first year.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply