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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » February 25, 2011
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Measured Optimism
February 25, 2011   
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Filippo Rean, director of MIPIM, talks to The Real Estate Voice.

Last year Poland was country of honor at MIPIM. Do you plan any special focus on Poland this year?
Last year Poland was country of honor of MIPIM and it was a great success. Poland is still center stage at MIPIM with a strong presence in the exhibition hall including seven major Polish cities –Warsaw, Cracow, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin and for the first time ŁódĽ - and also developers such as Mayland Real Estate, Echo Investment, Globe Trade Center. Also the conference program will feature a half-day seminar on Poland and Central Europe with two sessions: one dedicated to the investment opportunities in Poland in 2011 and 2012 and the other more global on Central Europe. Finally, many Polish officials will come to MIPIM to support the promotion of their areas among the international investment community. They include Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Mayor of Warsaw, who will also speak at a conference entitled The New City Scale, Hanna Zdanowska, Mayor of ŁódĽ, and Pawel Adamowicz, Mayor of Gdańsk.

What are the highlights of MIPIM 2011?
After Poland last year, we have chosen the United Kingdom as country of honor at MIPIM 2011. The decision to pay tribute to the United Kingdom is in recognition of the contribution that the UK has made to the global real estate market during MIPIM’s 22-year history and the vital role the UK has played in the promotion of cross-border investment.

The MIPIM conference program will feature prestigious speakers including the world famous economist Nouriel Roubini, for a keynote speech on the global economy and its impact on real estate. Nouriel Roubini was one of the few economists to announce in 2006 to the economic community the imminence of a major recession After the difficult times the global economy has been through these last two years, it seems very important to us to help our participants have a clear vision of the global economic outlook when building their development strategies. During this session, MIPIM participants will have an opportunity to interact with one of today’s finest global economic analysts.

The MIPIM conference program will give pride of place to the theme of investment. Thus two major names in German investment, Dr. Karl-Joseph Hermanns-Engel, Managing Director of Union Investment Real Estate GmbH, and Dr. Gerhard Niesslein, CEO of IVG Immobilien AG, will give a complete overview of the German market.

Several new conference formats will also be launched this year to reinforce market content through premium and business-focused events adapted to the needs of each category of professional. ‘Investor Quest’ will feature a selection of developers, working in the UK, who will pitch their projects to a jury of potential investors and will choose the project they consider the most worthy of investment.

The ‘Investment Lab’ will feature six sessions focusing on high-potential markets: Africa, Brazil, Latin America, South Africa and Turkey. Each session will start with a 45-minute workshop led by three experts and will be followed by an informal talk with five regional key players.

Finally the closed-door ‘Investors’ Power Meetings’ will give the opportunity to 30 investors (buyers and sellers) to meet and quickly enlarge their network of contacts with potential partners.

Many cities have ambitious plans to redevelop their brownfield sites and to reshape their city for the 21st century. The case of Sao Paulo will be explained by its mayor, Gilberto Kassab, during a keynote speech on March 9. MIPIM will also host the third edition of the Mayors’ Think Tank, which is a closed-door event dedicated to mayors and top political decision-makers. The topic of this year’s event is “Building the city together: urban strategies and integrated solutions implementation”. This debate will allow participants from public and private sectors to share their experiences, thoughts and best practices related to sustainable urban strategy.

What are your thoughts about European investment and the real estate market? Have we seen the end of the crisis?
Market fundamentals steadily improve and confidence is growing among real estate professionals. The situation has stabilized and global direct commercial real estate investment volumes are expected to rise in 2011. However the situation is not homogenous in all European countries and therefore real estate professionals remain cautious and evaluate each project carefully before moving forward. It is interesting to note that some investment companies have decided to attend MIPIM as exhibitors this year. This is the case for AG Real Estate (Belgium), VTB Arena (Russia), Unicredit Group (Germany), Aviva Investors (UK), GE Capital Real Estate (US).

What are your expectations for MIPIM 2011?
MIPIM has always been an excellent indicator of the situation in the international real estate sector. The return of important real estate projects to the exhibition hall and the increase in MIPIM Awards applications compared to last year are positive signs from the real estate market. The projects showcased at MIPIM this year include, for example, the Hudson Yards project located in the heart of Manhattan in New York; the 288-meter Pinnacle tower in London designed by Norman Foster; Baku White City, an impressive mixed-use project developed in Azerbaijan; and Zorlu Center, a major development comprising residential space, offices, a shopping mall and a hotel in the center of Istanbul. Real estate professionals are showing measured optimism and MIPIM 2011 will clearly reflect this state of mind. And above all, my expectations are to meet the needs of the 18,000 participants expected this year at MIPIM.
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