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Veranstaltungen | 07.03.2019

Aus IZSpecial anlässlich der Immobilienmesse MIPIM/2019, S. 207

Von Monika Leykam

In diesem Artikel:

Mipim is turning 30

Source: Immobilien Zeitung
In 2008, visitors celebrated the largest Mipim ever.

Source: Immobilien Zeitung

A Mipim visit has always been an accurate reflection of the ups and downs of the real estate cycle, invariably providing you with a feel for how well the sector is doing. As a pulse check, it's provided a good service for thirty years.

In March 1990, the first Mipim opened its gates to 2,973 visitors in Cannes. According to statistics, representatives from as many as 22 countries came to the debut event, despite the fact that in the first years, it was clearly dominated by guests from the UK and France. "Back then, we discussed the growing international activities of investors and international business development," says Rod Jones, then a partner of the traditional British real estate agent firm Drivers Jonas. "But you would also see London investment agents meeting colleagues who worked on the other side of the road and of course that begged the question of whether they really had to go all the way to Cannes for that purpose."

For obvious reasons, German real estate professionals had enough to do at home in the first years of Mipim. "Most of them only discovered the international real estate business after the boom years following reunification, that is, in the second half of the 1990s," Thomas Beyerle of Catella Property Valuation recalls. But when they did, they came in droves - the German delegation has always been among the three largest in Cannes.

A search for Mipim veterans can easily turn into a journey through German economic history. Many big names involved at the start have long ceased to exist. The LEG development trust of North Rhine-Westphalia, for instance, was privatised in 2008 and soon fell prey to private equity funds yearning for yield. WestLB, a real estate bank with international ambitions in its heyday, went bankrupt during the financial crisis and was dissolved in 2012.

The Dresdner Bank Real Estate Group, which came into existence as late as 1998, only survived until 2002 when the Dr. Lübke management buyout occurred. For those few years, the Palais des Festivals - a venue that usually specialises in films, conferences and evening shows - specially opened its fourth floor and the adjacent panorama terrace as exhibition space for Dresdner Bank's subsidiary. For all other German exhibitors, this marked the end of the legendary "underground car park” in the basement where they used to be placed before Dresdner came. With the advent of Dresdner, everyone wanted a place in the sun.

Source: Immobilien Zeitung
In 1996 booths in the "underground car park" were a must.

Source: Immobilien Zeitung

Over the years, this pushed the event organisers to try out all kinds of clever arrangements to cash in profit even if only the outdoor facilities in the grounds were used. When more and more cash-rich companies started to relocate their meetings to boats in the nearby marina, the whole port area was declared a ticketed zone you could only enter for a fee. Similar arrangements were made with regard to the restaurant area in the Majestic luxury hotel opposite the Palais.

In order to be able to sell a view of the Mediterranean Sea to as many exhibitors as possible, the organisers eventually approved the use of the jetty in front of the Palais for booths in tents and marquees. The upshot is that many visitors today associate the Palais des Festivals with the unnecessary angular concrete monster that blocks the way when you walk from the port to the seafront or to the old town.

Although the exhibition grounds expanded, the space became more and more crowded over the years. By 2001, the number of guests grew by a factor of five to 15,146. As the dotcom bubble burst, things calmed down in Cannes for a while, too. Just a few years later, the crisis was over and done with. In spring 2008, the year when the most severe financial crisis hit, the largest Mipim event ever took place attracting 29,318 visitors. A record of 3,000 tickets was sold to Germany alone. Because of a run of exhibitors from real estate markets rather off the beaten track like Tatarstan, Mongolia or the Arab Emirates, Reed Midem decided to create another Mipim dedicated to emerging markets in 2008. Timing could hardly have been worse - Mipim Horizons, one of the many victims of the financial crisis, didn't survive beyond its debut year.

In 2009, the year after the onset of the crisis but still feeling the aftershock, the number of visitors from Germany was down by almost a third. Instead of the usual almost claustrophobic atmosphere, trade fair guests - only 18,000 in number - easily found seats in restaurants and friendly hosts to let them a room. In order to keep Mipim's flag flying as the international industry venue despite the credit crunch and major uncertainty among investors, Reed Midem made an attempt at a "country of honour” concept in 2010, awarding special guest status to individual countries. However, the concept was binned after just five years. Instead, the organisers expanded the Mipim Awards system where trade fair visitors cast a vote on a selection of projects. What began with five categories has spread to eleven individual competitions and just as many opportunities to win for this year's 45 finalists.

In order to mitigate the consequences of the financial/sovereign crisis of 2008, major central banks have lowered their prime interest rates. The real estate sector has benefited and companies, like Mipim, have recovered over the years. In 2018, Mipim attracted a total of 26,000 participants, which is nearly exactly the number recorded in the year before the financial crisis started: 2007. Looking back, everyone agrees that the atmosphere was excellent.

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