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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » February 23, 2010
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Spotlight on Poland
February 23, 2010   
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Thierry Renault, deputy managing director of Reed MIDEM, the company organizing MIPIM, and head of the firm's real estate division, talks to the Voice.

Poland is country of honor at this year's MIPIM event. Why was Poland chosen and what does this signify?
The choice of Poland was made because of its excellent economic performance in the face of the global economic downturn. We also wanted to celebrate the loyalty of a country that has been a MIPIM attendee since the beginning.

A program of conferences and events has also been organized to turn the spotlight on Poland's investment potential. Poland's Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Economy, Rafa³ Baniak, will present investment and real estate development opportunities in his country at MIPIM during a keynote speech on Tuesday, March 16. On the same day, two further conference sessions on Poland are scheduled for the afternoon: Poland: land of opportunity, and Polish cities. The latter will focus on city branding. The Polish local authority stands will more particularly detail the efforts of the Euro 2012 cities in developing their existing infrastructures in order to host the much-awaited European soccer event. Many Polish exhibitors will also take advantage of this tribute to organize a lot of events on their stands. Finally, during the MIPIM awards ceremony on Thursday, March 18, the MIPIM awards jury will pay special tribute to a Polish project. And at the Hotel Majestic, Warsaw City Hall will hold a Chopin piano recital to mark the bicentenary of the composer's birth.

What are the highlights of MIPIM 2010?
Apart from the special program for Poland, an important aspect of this year's MIPIM is that it will be held along with another property market - MIPIM Horizons. This property event dedicated to the world's fast-growing regions (Central Asia, parts of Russia, the Middle East, Turkey, Africa and Latin America) was launched in December 2008.

Given the current economic situation, we believe that MIPIM Horizons at MIPIM will create a beneficial synergy for delegates of both events.

This will allow exhibitors from countries usually not or little represented at MIPIM to showcase their projects in the exhibition hall. This includes, for example, companies such as Cedar IV C/O Renaissance Partners (South Africa), Rooya Group for Real Estate Investment (Egypt), Eria Partners Real Estate Investment (Turkey).

For MIPIM participants, this will be an opportunity to meet new key players from these areas that are receiving increased interest from both domestic and international investors.

With MIPIM featuring MIPIM Horizons, several new aspects of the real estate business will be brought to MIPIM. For example, the program of conferences will feature sessions on social housing and Islamic finance.

On Tuesday, March 16, Anna Tibaijuka, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, the housing and human settlements program of the United Nations, will give a keynote speech on social housing. She will explore the central role of housing in a country's social and economic development. A second session on this same topic will analyze how developers and investors could turn social housing into a new and attractive investment opportunity. And on Thursday, March 18, Khaled Al-Aboodi, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (Saudi Arabia), will explain and detail the specificities of Islamic finance.

Experts from these countries will also analyze the particulars of these markets, often perceived as hard to penetrate by professionals, and highlight potential investment opportunities. This will be the case for Turkey, Brazil, Morocco and Egypt.

Furthermore, the conference program will feature another series of interesting seminars with many important personalities, both from the private and the public sector.

The mayors of London and Stockholm, Boris Johnson and Sten Nordin, will do us the great honor of each delivering a keynote address at MIPIM. Boris Johnson will speak on Tuesday, March 16, and Sten Nordin on Wednesday, March 17. Stockholm has been named European Green Capital 2010 by the European Commission. Hence, Mr. Nordin will speak to the international community of property professionals and explain his city's efforts to integrate ecological and sustainable aspects into its forward-looking vision of urban development.

Another highlight of the conference program will be the Mayors' Think Tank. This closed-door event will bring together some 70 mayors and top-ranking politicians and have them debate highly topical subjects for cities and local authorities - this year the subject is 'Infrastructure: key to sustainable growth.'

Also, the panel of architects, scheduled for Wednesday, March 17, will be a much-awaited event by many of the MIPIM participants. It will feature major international architects, including Bernardo Fort-Brescia, founding principal of Arquitectonica (US), Manuelle Gautrand (France), Daniel Libeskind (US) and Prof. Matthias Sauerbruch (Germany).

The exhibition area will also feature some highlights with highly ambitious projects being back on the market. To name only two: Dream Hub, a South Korean mixed-use project, designed by star architect Daniel Libeskind and destined to become the new 'heart of Seoul.' And Stone Towers, set to become Cairo's largest business park. Designed by internationally-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the project will consist of 18 buildings and will combine offices and retail real estate, as well as a five-star hotel.

What are your expectations for this year's MIPIM event?
The key decision-makers of the real estate industry will attend MIPIM 2010 and, like last year, we expect MIPIM to be high quality and business-oriented. The attendance should be very similar to 2009 with some 18,000 delegates. Around 3,500 investors are expected, including major companies such as Allianz Real Estate GMBH (Germany), BNP Paribas, (France), Aviva Investors, JP Morgan (United Kingdom), Credit Suisse (Switzerland) or Pramerica Real Estate Investors (US), which are already registered.

To date, and just like last year, the most represented countries at MIPIM are from western Europe, mainly from the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Sweden. But at the same time, we also see the emergence of new countries with highly ambitious developments such as Brazil, with the participation of the city of Sao Paulo; Egypt, with the Stone Towers business park project designed by Zaha Hadid and developed by Rooya Group; and Libya, with important redevelopment projects in Tripoli presented by Al-Inmaa Holding.
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