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Posted: 15.03.24

I've got the MIPIM bug back

A bit of a MIPIM express this year - a few days of full-on activity and now at the airport on the way home.

Highlights include the Opportunity London and LPA MIPIM lunch on Tuesday, thanks to Charles Begley at the LPA and Jace Tyrell and the Opportunity London team for squeezing me in quite last minute. It was a great opportunity to meet old friends and be reminded of the sheer strength of Team London. As Jace says: ‘London is bursting with opportunity’.     

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On Tuesday, we hosted a great dinner for clients and associates, with delicious food and delightful company - thank you all for coming. We finished off the evening at the bar next door, playing a game of ‘name the last 16 housing ministers,' which is harder than you’d think (especially when some only had such a brief foray of just a few months in the role) and much funnier than you’d imagine when you remember that Dominic Raab was actually in charge of housing for six months; I think I must have erased that unhappy period from my memory!

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I kicked off Wednesday morning chairing a panel on the London Stand about the impact of major sporting and cultural events on cities. The great panel included: Joanna Rowelle, Director of Cities at Arup, Andrew Link, Director at AECOM; Katherine Fairclough, Chief Executive of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority; and Cllr Nick Kemp, Leader of Newcastle City Council. 

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We all agreed that whether it be the 2012 London Olympics, Eurovision, or the Great North Run - these events instil a feeling of civic pride, joy, and well-being which we wish we could bottle and keep to cheer us up during the dreary, overcast, wet winter months.

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Continuing on a sporting theme, I then had the privilege of introducing SwiMIPIM - a brave bunch of souls who plunged into the freezing sea (in wetsuits not speedos) to raise money for the Streets of London charity. Well done to all the swimmers! It was particularly pleasing to see that half of the group were women. Maybe something I could consider doing next year if I start training now? Maybe not.

The afternoon saw us back on the beach in the sunshine, rosé in hand, as we hosted over 120 guests at our annual drinks reception with Town Legal. Another well-attended and buzzy event, which is always so enjoyable and passes so quickly, that the venue has to literally kick us out as the sun sets majestically over the horizon.

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What better way to end the evening than with a brisk walk to Greystar’s villa party? Great food, music, and a wonderful crowd and vibe. Thank you, Annabel Turbutt, and all at Greystar.

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But the night didn’t quite end there. We nearly had an extra guest for a sleepover at our flat as our long-standing friend and collaborator, Susan Freeman, Partner at Mishcon de Reya, realised in the Uber that (to her great dismay) the keys to her apartment were actually still in her apartment! So Susan came back to our place while she tried to find a solution. Fortunately, she did manage to get in before the night got much later. This must have been a big relief, as though our apartment is lovely, the sofa really doesn’t look that comfortable. Susan, our sofa is your sofa and you’re welcome to stay on it anytime!

As the sun starts to set on another MIPIM, one might wonder if it's sink or swim for this renowned global property fair? Yes, there were some notable people absent this year, but the mood was reassuringly upbeat, and there is no doubt that the lovely setting and beautiful weather help to engender a feeling of positivity which is quite infectious.

The sun smiled down on Cannes and it was wonderful to feel its rays and get the first vitamin D boost of the year. So, will we be back in 2025? Yes, I think so. Is MIPIM having a resurgence? Well, I have to say I think I’ve got the MIPIM bug back - I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that it’s not actually COVID!

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Cannes, à bientôt!