Boarding the plane at Stansted Airport on a grey, stormy Tuesday morning earlier this month, I couldn’t help the wry smile. Without asking any of my fellow passengers, it was obvious with all the business attire on show, that the vast majority were on their annual pilgrimage to MIPIM – the major international property conference held in Cannes each March. It sounds like an incongruous combination – thousands of property industry movers and shakers networking, lunching, doing deals and forging partnerships under the sunny climes of Cote D’Azur.
But it’s a combination that undoubtedly works. 2019 was the 30th year of MIPIM, and it’s probably the 3rd time we have sent a Primera contingent over the last 5 years. The huge London Pavilion, run by Pipers, is a beacon for London’s property industry which means you can easily meet up with key stakeholders and partners – meetings that can often take weeks or months to set up in the capital. The whole place has a buzz and vibe of collaboration and engagement – we are all there with the same mind-set which in itself can lead to positive and productive conversations.
We had a busy 48 hours in Cannes – through Primera’s work with the South Westminster BIDs we hosted a lunch with leading central London BIDs, I attended another lunch hosted by the City and Westminster Property Association, I spoke on the London Stand on a panel session, met with Deputy Mayor of London Jules Pipe and also welcomed the renowned architect and urbanist, Jan Gehl who gave a fascinating talk to some invited guests. There were other unexpected meet ups, new connections made and existing relationships cemented.
I was struck by the common theme of partnership that dominated the programme on the London Stand, and it was the recurrent topic up for discussion at the various lunches and dinners. As we anticipate the pressure on the public purse continuing, the growth of public / private partnership is becoming increasingly necessary for London’s vibrancy and economic vitality. Discussion was focused on developing a new and sustainable model for partnership. I was able to make the case for BIDs already demonstrating that it’s a model that works and can be built on to make public / private collaboration even stronger and more impactful in the future. My comments were well received and there is much to pick up on.
As we returned to a grey London on Thursday, I noted that while we might have left the glorious blue skies behind, the positive discussions and opportunities for joint working pursued in Cannes indicate a bright future…perhaps with just a little less sand!
Ruth Duston, OBE, OC
MD Primera Corporation