MIPIM: Nick Ellis reports on the International Property Show

This blog feature was written for and first featured in The Lawyer

Thursday 12th March

It’s Thursday, and it has been a busy few days, Wednesday was the usual hectic mix of meetings and parties; this year I preferred Uber to using my legs to get from the Martinez to the Raddison Blu. Last night I was entertained in a villa overlooking the bay of Cannes, a truly stunning view. The only slight issue was returning to the Croisette as there was a distinct lack of Uber coverage in the hills.

Looking back on the week, it’s clear that the international investment market cannot get enough of London. For each year of the last three years I have come here thinking that the London market has to cool, each time I have gone home more confident about the year ahead. Like the weather today, there are a few clouds, the most frequent question I hear is what happens in the event of a hung parliament?

I have just returned to the apartment to get changed before hosting the Keystone Law MIPIM dinner. I was pleased yesterday to be asked by a contact for an invite – he had heard last year’s dinner was great fun. I will put that down to the venue and its’ staff! Hopefully this evening will be just as productive for my guests as it is for me.

MPIM has been yet again a great success this year, new contacts made and hopefully that will lead to new work – it’s all in the follow up, which starts next week.

Tuesday 10th March


All MIPIM delegates have an accommodation story; from the eye watering room rates on the Croisette, to the hell hole broom cupboards people book for the price and then regret on site inspection.

I arrived in Cannes having taken accommodation off of a friend who works for an international law firm downsizing its MIPIM delegation this year. The only snag being that the accommodation was booked from Tuesday to Friday, meaning that I would need to find somewhere to stay on Monday night. A quick scan of a well known website gave me a room on the Croisette last night for the price of budget hotel back home. So far, so good. I checked in yesterday evening and with the service one would expect from a five star hotel, my luggage appeared in my room and all was well. Not for long.

Having been snowboarding earlier in the day I decided to run a bath, except that there was no plug for the bath…. The next hour was spent on the phone with Guest Services whilst I, with appalling French, tried to explain my problem. I was offered an adapter, as they were sure it was an electric plug that I referred to and if not, it was a power converter, surely? I managed to get some sense when I asked the very patient duty manager how water stayed in a bath. Voila! Except that there was no maintenance person available to assist me for an hour, so I was going to have to be upgraded to a sea facing mini suite.

Oh well, nice start to MIPIM.

Monday 9th March

As the real estate world prepares for the opening of MIPIM 2015, I’m taking the day to finalise my meeting schedule, sign off on arrangements for the Keystone Law dinner and take in a last few runs on the slopes. I flew to the south of France on Thursday evening, drove 2 hours north of Nice to Auron, entertaining a client with a 4 day pre MIPIM ski weekend.

We both worked from our hotel Friday morning and then hit the slopes in the afternoon. The weather down here is just as glorious as it has been at home this weekend and it has been a welcome wind down before the chaos of the next four days.

There are those that take a sceptical view of MIPIM, I have always invested in the event and that investment has been successful year after year. I have a substantial but manageable programme this year, add to that a couple of breakfast events, lunches and legendary dinner parties it is a busy four days.

2014 was a stellar year for most real estate lawyers, with development and development finance shining in particular. But what will the market have to say about the future? In an election year, affordable housing and delivery on housing targets are going to shine a light on the industry and how it intends to deliver. What is the market view of London’s prime development sector? Too many consents for a segment of the market that has seen significant slowing in recent months? Taxation – it is clear that property taxes are going to rise after the election, how does this change market dynamics?

It’s going to be an interesting four days…..

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