If all property deals were done in the back of a cab, London would have cleaned up at MIPIM already. Speaking to a Dutch woman who now lives in Luxembourg on the ride home from the centre of Cannes, it’s clear that the capital is seen as the best bet for investment in Europe. “In real estate, prime London is where the money is going. That and Paris. But mainly London.”
All of which adds weight to Boris Johnson’s rabble-rousing speeches to London’s property masses on the first day of MIPIM. “No other city has what we have to offer here in London. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of opportunity,” he thundered to eager delegates in the London Pavillion over a giant model of the city’s projected skyline.
The red, white and blue flags on the private jets at Nice airport had augured a big Russian presence at MIPIM, but despite impressive masterplans in the country’s tent, places like Moscow feel relatively low key. Then there’s the credibility problem. “Plenty of business but I wouldn’t want to work in Russia, it’s a bit too serious,” was just one overheard, chuckled snippet of conversation, and our Dutch taxi pundit judged the place to be too risky and too corrupt.
With the exception of Bahrain Bay and Dohaland, a Middle Eastern push at the show has been conspicuous by its absence. Central and eastern Europe seems to be out in force, however, and some have been venturing even further east - Woods Bagot have just won a major airport scheme in Azerbyjan.
London nonetheless remains the most lauded location by most delegates you speak to, and the Mayor is now keen for development to push on from the Olympic Park to the Royal Docks in Newham. MIPIM is still only around half the size it was before the recession, but London is leading its resurgence.
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