Rolling news, blogs and twit-bits from the annual property fair on the Cote d'Azur

Friday 19th March

Joey Gardiner has posted an excellent summary of this year's Mipim while waiting for his flight home.
Sitting on the terrace at the Villa Francia, waiting for the airport transfer, I wonder - what to make of the 2010 vintage? Well, for one thing it has been the coldest Mipim I have been to for a long time. Anyone sitting on the Riviera seafront in the sunshine for long enough this week, even in the middle of the day, ended up shivering from the vicious wind, a mini-mistral, whipping in from the Cannes bay. Some of the nights were incredibly cold, requiring a more than usual cloak of alcohol to endure the late-night taxi waits. And, frankly, reading weather reports and realising that’d you have experienced a higher temperature if you’d have been in Manchester all week is really not what Mipim is supposed to be about.

Nevertheless, the sun has shone, the mountains and palm trees and bobbing yachts have been just as picturesquely placed as ever, wine has been drunk, and the annual lifting of the collective industry spirit has, on balance, been achieved. Indeed, we should really be thankful. Like the UK, Cannes has had a long and torrid winter, and just a few short weeks ago mipim delegates would have seen snow on the ground. It could have been a lot worse. Read more of Joey's blog

7:17am Charlie Rich The London Stand has been pretty busy this year, although the stands themselves were dominated by architects. Seating in the London Club was quite restricted so had most of my discussions on a model case. Numbers overall were definitely down but the quality of the people was very good again this year. Hardly any big cocktail parties but more focussed lunches and dinners. My daughters Lydia (Knight Frank) - now a third-timer - and Francesca (Bruce Shaw Partnership) - her first MIPIM - both did well for the Consultancy and their own firms.

Chilling down on Friday, no planned meetings other than getting together with a few folk for lunch on the beach.

Thurdsay 18th March

3:29pm Emily Wright Cyril Sweett's lunch on the beach was excellent. Nice to hear a short speech from Francis Ives for the first time since his announcement last week that he will retire in September after 40 years.

Great to be out networking in the sunshine but a bit of musical chairs was required after the starter as one side of the table had begun to turn a worrying shade of crimson. Everyone agreed it's a bit of a mixed blessing coming back from Mipim having caught the sun. Much harder to pull of the "it was actually really hard work out there" with a tan.

I was sat next to someone from Aecom who almost resorted to putting his head in his hands at the mention, once again, of Davis Langdon. No great surprise to hear that he has been asked the same questions all week.

Topics of conversation included the notable absence of so many QSs - "They are at home licking their wounds I'm afraid" - was one typical response. There was also much talk on the lack of any sign of Crossrail at the London Stand. "There is that huge model that gets rolled out year on year, yet nothing has been done to show Crossrail and all the changes to the landscape it will bring with it," said one guest. No one could work out exactly why this is the case so if anyone has any thoughts, let us know...

11:08am Emily Wright Dubai pearl images are pretty breathtaking. Sky palace apartments with infinity pools 73 floors up are something special (and a bit terrifying if you have a problem with heights) CEO of the project is confident that completion by 2013 is on track.

Just had coffee with RMJM's Peter Morrison before he catches a flight to the States this pm. He talked about the firm's strategy, projects and Fred the Shred. More on that another time...

Next stop cyril sweett lunch. Which reminds me...where are all the QS firms this year? Haven't heard a peep from DL, EC HArris, G&T etc and several other people have said the same... Emily's blog

10:06am Stuart Pledge Not a bad place to try and cure a hangover! 4am finish following a lively bash courtesy of Lovells preceeded by the West London drinks reception at the Grand Hotel. A rammed event confirming the chase for public sector work is still very much alive. Off for coffee with Watts Group and to piece together the last few hours of last night. Some business cards that I cannot put faces to. One card is in Russian and I am pretty sure I don't speak the language! The day after the night before

9:13am Emily Wright There has been a huge amount of support for Building's Charter 284 campaign out here in Cannes. Just last night HLM Architects, Scott Wilson and CBRE all pledged their support. Emily's blog

9:11am Neil Stanley Yesterday a steady day of meetings with various people and all sorts of interesting discussions. Apparently it seems that in France it is legal for architects to receive incentives from suppliers ( not sure how true this is ). On another note , again not sure how true it is but the MIPIM organisers apparently used to organise 7 events in Cannes and recently this has been reduced to 4 with the film festival disappearing from them recently.

Weather was bright and sunny all day and plenty of people active in meetings and gatherings throughout the day. It is such a pleasure to see so many people being positive after a relatively slow January (certainly in the UK) for most what with the weather and market etc. This place must be a massive money generator for so many people in the local economy. Neil Stanley's Mipim photos

9:08am Emily Wright Today I am meeting the CEO of Dubai Pearl, the 2m sq ft development backed by a consortium of investors led by Abu Dhabi company Al Fahim Group. The project, which is being marketed as a living city and will house 9000 people, include 7 luxury hotels, 55,000sqm of retail and 1,400 apartments, looks set to be completed in 2013 and there are whispers that this is the scheme that could signal the start of a recovery in Dubai...

9:06am Emily Wright Last night was a busy one. The evening kicked off with a catch up with Archial for a Building Buys a Pint. Within 5 minites if sitting down i had heard one of the greatest mipim stories yet. You'll have to read the issue of Building out the week after next to get the full details.

Felt bad for Chris Littlemore who had his wallet stolen the day before from a restaurant and had to spend the majority of Wednesday in a French police station. Then off to the Majestic for the Rider Levitt Bucknall dinner where spirits were high and the developers and architects on my table were reporting decent amounts of private sector work, especially in London - all in line with what most other people have been saying.

They added that another hot spot is the hotels sector. Massive amounts of foreign investment from the Far East is keeping this market interesting. Several mega London schemes in the pipeline.

What with it being St Patrick's Day, it would have been criminal not to have a pint of Guinness so it was off to Morrison's, Cannes' best known Irish pub. Of course, everyone else had the same idea and the place was absolutely packed, both inside and out.

The photo of the Morrisons pub doesn't really capture the scale of the crush, but anyone who was there will know what i am talking about. The mix of suited and booted property types with the local French youth was an interesting one. One retail developer was overheard shouting: "Good God, This place is bloody ferrel."

Final stop was the Lovell's party which drew in a huge crowd considering it didn't start until 11pm - but then, this is MIPIM.

8:33am Joey Gardiner Just had my first early morning meeting cancelled through the other party still being in bed. I'll spare the blushes of the high profile consultant and regeneration magazine contributor involved as, on reflection, its completely my own fault. It's a rookie error to assume that an 8.30 breakfast meeting on Thursday at Mipim is ever going to happen. What was I thinking? Read more on Joey's blog

Wednesday 17th March

10:24pm Charles Rich
Hard, but good day today, MIPIM just as good as last year, about the same numbers and serious discussions.

Some first timers commented on the fact that you get to speak to the right people and those 5 minute conversations which you've been trying to have for a whole year. Just what MIPIM is all about.

BA has sorted our flights out now, getting back only 2 hrs later than planned.

4.10pm Joey Gardiner Has blogged about the 2012 land transfer deal announced yesterday and the distinct lack of quangoes at Mipim this year. Click here to read Joey's blog

3.40pm Dan Innes Attention's turned today to what the next 10 years has in store for us, and how we should acclimatise ourselves to this new world we find ourselves in. No one would really pin their colours to the masts, with various firms publishing their crystal ball predictions for the years ahead.

The Jones Lang LaSalle media briefing this morning had quite an engaging weather map showing the status in different cities across Europe, where I’m glad to report that London had a little sunny face peeking from behind a cloud – it was as much as any other major city could offer – especially when compared to Athens or Dublin. The good news was that most figures encouraged investors to take the risky plunge of developing out new projects in order to reap larger rewards in a supply-constricted market.

Meanwhile, pacing up and down the Croisette was like changing lanes on the Arc du Triomphe – rivers of suited and booted Europhiles hiding behind Raybans and permatans, all marching towards some kind of mega deal I'm sure. The sunshine has brought most meetings out into the open air, much to Reed Midem’s disappointment.

The London Pavilion has its advantages here, but I pitied those downstairs in the windowless Bunker. Finally had my first steak frites and rosé over lunch – must say it didn’t disappoint. Let's hope the evening’s meetings are as tasty.

3.35pm Joey Gardiner Word from Mipim is that the HCA's consultation on the standards that all publicly-funded homes are going to be built to will finally be published next week... rumours that the consultation (originally expected before Christmas) was delayed by being given a thorough going-over from the Treasury are probably not that wide of the mark. And the Treasury is not alone in being concerned at how much the standards will cost to implement (see Building Campaign 284). While we await the consultation with baited breath, most expect the document to be pretty open, asking more questions than it provides answers...

Saw David Taylor earlier (he of Silvertown Quays Ltd fame), entering the Mipim bunker, at Cannes despite the deepening row with the LDA over the cancellation of his development agreement for the PNDS1.5bn scheme. How is he coping? "Well, I'm still standing," he answered.

3pm Stuart Pledge Beautiful weather is the main talking point. David Arnold Cooper boules competition in full swing. See the photo on the Building Network

2.55pm Neil Stanley Just met a fascinating chap, Bernard Byrne of Castlewood a developer who is about to start construction of the first five star hotel in Liverpool. Anne King of Paul Moy Associates introduced me and funnily enough he has been a very popular fellow. The sun is shining and the Croisette is full of MIPIM attendees both registered and not. Good feelings all round methinks as people are keen to put the ' R ' word behind them.

2.40pm Building desk Photos from Mipim are available on the Building Network. Feel free to upload more on the network or email them to

12pm Building desk Just uploaded the video of Boris Johnson's keynote speech

1155am Emily Wright on twitter Overheard someone complaining that mipim this year is too building-y and enough about property...

9am Emily Wright on twitter Busy day ahead. Looking forward to catching up with @DanInnes later and will attempt to find @JulianHakes on the London stand...

8.55am Neil Stanley Networth last night whilst low key was a popular evening livened up by the arrival of several drivers fresh from the MIPIM challenge. Nick Lintott from Overbury and Nick Readett-Bayley from Aros, two drivers of the three Porsche 911s that travelled down, recanted tales of their journey through France.

Caffe Roma was busy as usual with a slight lull over the evening dinner but my room mate assures me that at 3am it was still rocking. The Carlton was not as busy as usual apparently but the Majestic was packed.

Lots more people have arrived and the atmosphere is very bouyant and positive.

8am Emily Wright With the pass prices now costing around $1600 MIPIM-goers are increasingly opting out of forking out and are simply meeting in the surrounding bars, restaurants and hotels – picking up key bits of information from “the inside” on their blackberries and laptops. Click here to read the rest of Emily's blog

Tuesday 16th March

11.34pm Dan Innes Today at MIPIM was all about Boris – Boris Johnson that is, mayor of London. He was everywhere, everything, everyman, everyplace. Attending what must have been 30+ functions across the day, from PIPERS’ London Pavilion with its overview of City planning, announcing Olympic Legacy land transfer news, welcoming in the gallant cyclists from their epic journey down from London, through to a seemingly never-ending list of press interviews with magazines and on camera. Twitter was alive with chatter about @MayorOfLondon – am sure he nearly overtook #mipim as the (briefly) globally trended topic of the day.

Some did think he nearly came off the rails when he began canvassing for a Tory government on May 6th at tax payers’ expense, whilst others thought the Mayor’s office had brought down several Borises to manage all the delegate interest, but only one Sir Simon Milton to play the support role. When back on patter, he waxed lyrical about “speed, clarity and certainty” in the planning process – a process that would provide opportunities for “sensitive, beautiful, brilliant developments” in our capital. There are few better champions for our city.

11pm Stuart Pledge Caffe Roma rendezvous and then on to Gustav Restaurant for an impromtu dinner for 10. Watts, RLF, MNP, Jonap, TTSP, Project and Building Consultancy Lots of overseas opportunities being talked about especially north Africa! On for drinks at the Manchester bar to see Dyer.

4:59pm Correction. Cycle to Cannes rider Greg Moss from Hawkins/Brown has tweeted: "HB first company to have all their C2C entrants complete all of the ride. Really good ride! Wish I could carry on to sicily" @ggmoss I thought it wasn't a race? Congratulations anyway

4:45pm The cyclists have arrived, but no Tweets from @rafenne et al. Stranded in their lycra, phoneless, on La Croisette.

4:40pm The most entertaining Mipim Twitter feed for the second year in a row goes to Vaughan Burnand (@vaughanburnand). Here's a selection....

London stand is much smaller, more of a tent really, the only redeeming feature being the beach front. The rest of the world are winning!

MIPIM seems strangely quiet. Is is the first day syndrome or is it quiet?

Mission: Impossible star Peter Graves dies aged 83 Its the end of an era. This twitter will self destruct in 15 seconds.

cafe au lait a le cafe ont corner waiting pour le train. 3000 people from le uk this year. credit crunch what.....!!!!

4pm A few stories written up from the Blackfriars riviera. Boris agrees 2012 land transfer (as tipped by Joey Gardiner this morning, see below). Feilden Clegg Bradley plans for big Leeds site - Commercial Estates Group is the developer. Plus Chipperfield wins competition for Russian theatre and Boris visits model of Nine Elms regeneration scheme.

3:50pm Joey Gardiner Boris on fine form at Mipim today. Said he was considering moving his offices to the Shard, so he could enjoy the view over France.

3:40pm Joey Gardiner Announcement due imminently on London Olympic land transfer, vital to see redevelopment of the site after the Olympic games. Apparently the price - previously rumoured to be in the region of £500m price tag cost to the Treasury - has been bartered down somewhat - the figure the LDA will get back is now somewhere in the £400m bracket. Full details within the hour.

3:38pm Joey Gardiner Just seen Tom Bloxham at the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation's lunch. Could Urban Splash be looking to invest in East London? - If so it'd be the first scheme the Manchester developer has ever undertaken in the capital...

12.20pm Neil Stanley Arrived yesterday in Cannes about 5pm having travelled by train from Ebbsfleet , although longer just seems easier than flying. Never been on a Monday before and busy enough but felt like the calm before the storm with many arriving today, Tuesday by all accounts.

Went to Cafe Roma which was vibrant, the place has had a major refurbishment apparently but after a couple of cheeky beers to be honest it looks exactly the same. Talking of beer the cost is 8 Euros a pint and with the currency virtually the same that is £8 so ouch. No doubt the Carlton Hotel will be far more.

We checked the Quays Bar where we are having a Networth event tonight and it seems the organisers Reed Midem are cracking down as the bar have been told we can't have it exclusively. It seems following the Drivers Jonas legal case everyone is being very cautious.

The main do was Wardell Armstrong in the Old Town last night , caught up with a whole host of people but had good chats with Mike Thirkettle of McBains Cooper and Alan Pemberton of TFT. Went on for some pasta locally and then an early night .

12.02pm Picture of Boris Johnson eyeing up the opposition at the Paris stand

11:27am Joey Gardiner Exclusive: London mayor Boris Johnson is to make major announcement regarding the transfer of the disputed Olympic land to the Olympic Park Legacy Company later today at property conference Mipim. Johnson told Building at Mipim there would be "very good news" on the issue, which has been stalled in Treasury negotiations for months, later today.

Officials refused to divulge exactly what the announcement is, but it is likely to be a breach to the impasse with the Treasury over who pays for the development land contained within the Olympic Park to allow redevelopment after the games.

Currently the land is owned by the London Development Agency, part of the Greater London Authority's group of organisations, which borrowed PNDS800m to buy the land. Last year it was decided that the land should be passed over to the OPLC without debt to allow redevelopment to take place, meaning central government would have to take on the borrowing. Negotiations have stalled in recent weeks over the price of the land, thought to now be worth around PNDS 500m.

More to follow later...

11.22am Manchester has been quick off the mark this year, uploading a video tour of its Manchester stand on YouTube. To view the stand and a bit of the Cannes streetscape, complete with de rigueur shakey camera work click on the link above

10:48am Joey Gardiner's still looking for the press tent. "They've moved everything around this year." He's just had a chat with Boris who may have given away more than he should.

The Cycle to Cannes cyclists are starting their last leg to Cannes. It's a big one - 170km - and a lot of riders will want to do the whole leg. They should be careful - sitting in the back of a broom wagon is no way to arrive in Cannes.

6.30am Stuart Pledge Day starts with card swapping with fellow Eurostar passengers at 6.30am! Let the networking begin.

Monday 15th March

11.24pm Dan Innes: To MIPIM, and don’t spare the horses!

It’s been a case of MIPIM fever these last weeks spreading across the real estate industry - the great and the good from the investment and financial powerhouses of the sector are purportedly down to do deals in Cannes.... finally. Like wasps to a jam jar the rest of the industry’s circus troupes down to the South of France too, in the hope of crumbs from the table. New deals, contracts, marketing and meetings.

But forget why all 20,000 of us want to be there, what if you happen to be part of the circus and not one of those who instructed Geeves to take you across from Monaco in your Learjet or sailed across in your Nottingham pink yacht? If you’re anything like me you’ll have explored at least one of the many alternative ways of getting down there to the Med.

Although market optimism is slowly easing out our wallets once again, the mounting cost of a delegate badge, and the virtual monopoly on hotel rooms in the town, attending MIPIM is an expensive affair and worthy of tight reign. The regular flights to Nice rocket in price in closing months, whilst those who booked back in the Autumn stealed a march with £20 seats - you’ll spot them with those extra euros to spend at Caffe Roma, plenty of green bottles at their feet.

Many BA travellers bit their nails this week, although I hear only one return flight on Saturday – the 11:10am – has been a casualty. There must be worst places to be stranded that the Cote d’Azur in 22 degrees of sunshine though? I know that many delegates changed their entry of exit airports to save on budget – ourselves included as we fly from Birmingham International with BMi at a third of the price of Heathrow (just a 5am drive up the M1 to contend with!). For others, a flight to Marseille then hire car is also a popular choice - one that I have tried to good effect before, although the drive back to the airport after 3 nights with as many decent hours sleep as I could count on two hands seemed to take an eternity.

One option I wish I’d honestly taken myself was to join one of the brave groups cycling all the way down to MIPIM for the charity Cycle2Cannes, as reported in the magazine Live Cycle to Cannes. After 1,500km I think I’d deserve that trip to the Martinez Bar, whatever the cost of a Peroni. Half a mill for the Cycle to Cannes charity? WOW -way to go guys and girls, we salute you!

Which leaves the train gaining in popularity year on year. Many people forget that there is a station in Cannes, with direct trains to Paris, or via Lille, TGV and the nice people at Eurostar to ferry you from St.Pancras. I exited the retail version of MIPIM – MAPIC - by train in 2006, and have to say it was one of the most pleasant wind-downs from Cannes I can remember – watching the Med coastline zip past in smooth French railways comfort. CABE Chairman Paul Finch and Chris Houchin of Bovis both opted for le train this year, so it can’t be that bad.

One last ditch attempt at saving cash might be to scrap your plan for an entire café down in Cannes, and jump to Cheltenham Race Week to entertain instead – the gamble may just pay off. However you get there, just get there – after last year’s reduced turn-out, this year has all the makings of a vibrant and focused business fair.