Today was meant to be the warm, sunny day, but I ended up in a woolly bobble hat and coat.
I left the hotel at 8.30am for the ULI breakfast meeting without a jacket – a very brave move, as I was going to be out at meetings all day until evening. Within hours, freezing cold, I caved in and bought a jacket at Zara.
The waffles filled with smoked salmon and cream cheese were a great hit at ULI. It was also good to catch up with Cees van der Spek, global corporate relations and marketing director for Amsterdam based developer EDGE Technologies. EDGE is leading the way in tech-enabled sustainable development and has a couple of exciting schemes in London.
I was just a little hurt Cees hasn’t yet listened to my recent Propertyshe podcast with CEO Coen van Oostrom, in which we discussed his meeting with Al Gore at the World Economic Forum in Davos, which inspired him to focus on sustainable development on his return to Amsterdam.
Next up was a whirlwind meeting with IWG/Regus founder and chairman Mark Dixon, another Propertyshe podcast guest. Dixon, as always, had back-to-back meetings, but it wouldn’t be Mipim without a catch-up on business and family, and the latest new features at Chateau de Bernes, his luxurious hotel and vineyard in the hills above St Tropez.
I managed to make time to check out the Paris Stand. it was heaving with people and one of the exhibits was an interesting model of La Défense showing their plans to revitalise the business district. It will be interesting to see how they incorporate Professor Carlos Moreno’s vision of the 15-minute city and his call for the end of single-use buildings. It may be indicative of a smaller UK delegation this year, but I have noticed many more European languages being spoken along the Croisette, which in past years has been dominated by English speakers.
Property and proptech came together at the Coyote brunch co-hosted with Least, the property leasing platform that speeds up the commercial leasing process and is being adopted by savvy landlords. Getting property and tech together at Mipim is unusual, as they seem to run entirely separate circuits and events, which makes it difficult to attend both. It was good to catch up with Taylor Wescoatt from Concrete Ventures and Rebekah Tobias from Marcol. Also, under the heading of random encounters, I ran into Steve Hughes from Hollis, who it turns out is a near neighbour at home.
It was great to join some of my Mishcon de Reya colleagues in hosting a relaxed client lunch in the old town. I had the chance to catch up with Martin Samworth who, among his other roles, is the recently appointed chairman of the RICS. It is reassuring to see this important real estate institution in such experienced and capable hands.
Thursday evening at Mipim for me means Harvey Soning’s legendary drinks reception. It’s the first one I have attended since 2019 and I am delighted to report it was bigger and better than ever. The room was packed with the movers and shakers of the property industry. The centre piece, as always, was the sides of smoked salmon flown in from Panzers St John’s Wood in London, which was much appreciated by the 500 guests. I mentioned Steve Edge in yesterday’s blog. I finally tracked him down at the party looking as fab as ever in crimson velvet - although disappointingly no sequins!
Then it was back to Mantel in the old town for a Mishcon dinner co-hosted with New York City-based proptech venture capitalist Metaprop, where we managed to bring property and proptech together for the evening. Maureen Waters and Zander Geronimos from Metaprop, and Sean Cooley, CEO of Mapped, represented proptech and Tom Bloxham of Urban Splash, Joseph Rajah, Joseph Homes, Fabrix CEO Clive Nichol and my Taylor Vintners colleague James Slinger were in the property corner. We were incredibly excited to be able to celebrate Fabrix’s incredible double whammy at the Mipim Awards, winning both best new development and best urban regeneration project. This is quite an achievement. Huge congratulations to all at Fabrix! I’m just sorry that Debbie Whitfield had to return home early and missed the celebrations.
I will be rounding off Mipim in style at the Tom Bloxham annual BBQ up in the hills looking down over the Cote D’Azure and reflecting on exactly what is the elusive magic of the annual event. Of course, when we get home, the follow-up will be to make something out of all the connections made at Mipim. It will be interesting to see if our whizzy new electronic cards have captured all the information we need. I’m not sure they really are a substitute for those notes written on the back of business cards, as the art of networking is all about people, rather than technology.