MIPIM 2011: Real estate builds on recovery foundation (FR)

From Sao Paolo to Chongqing, by way of Kigali and London, the international real estate community gathered in Cannes March 8-11, 2011, for the 22nd edition of MIPIM that saw an enlarged number of major projects unveiled to international investors and tour de force keynote presentations from Mayor of London Boris Johnson and international economist Nouriel Roubini.

And in a sign of the times, the consensus among international mayors and leading city administrators who met at MIPIM's third Mayors' Think Tank on March 9, was that public and private partners will increasingly integrate quality of life considerations into their urban development projects.

"The underlying market stabilization was evident at MIPIM 2011. The fact that we've welcomed over 18,400 delegates (+7% vs 2010), including nearly 4,000 investors (a 6% increase on 2010), reflects the mood of the market and the appetite to do business," noted MIPIM Director Filippo Rean.

"What has been striking is that we have seen extremely ambitious projects being presented from a very diverse range of countries."

Among those projects, Sao Paolo and London, supported by their respective mayors Gilberto Kassab and Boris Johnson, promoted development plans linked to holding the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. Rwanda's Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza, led his country's first delegation to attend MIPIM to present international investors with the €6.7 billion development program for the capital Kigali and China's fourth largest city, Chongqing, made its debut appearance in Cannes to outline real estate possibilities linked to its programme to double in size by 2020.

From Azerbaijan, the Baku White City development, designed to regenerate the industrial Black City district of the country's capital, was unveiled to MIPIM delegates. From Russia, the Northern Caucasus Resorts Company's General Director, Alexey Nevskiy, lifted the curtain on the world's largest skiing development involving five separate resorts and an investment in excess of €10 billion. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is following this project closely and the Russian Federal government is injecting €1.4 billion to develop primary infrastructure.

Turkish developer Zorlu Property, host of the MIPIM Opening Night Party, actively promoted two major projects, the mixed-use Zorlu Centre and the Zorlu Levent office project, both based in Istanbul. Already €1.7 billion has been invested in the Zorlu Centre, including €214 million in the performing arts facilities. And from Croatia, Profectus Grupa brought its ambitious Dubrovnik Pearl elite resort project to MIPIM. Set to break ground at the end of the year, the €1.5 billion coastal development includes a marina, luxury hotels, an airport, as well as residential and retail properties.

Market reports confirm 2010 rebound but prime product scarce
As MIPIM progressed, international real estate consultants, including CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), Jones Lang LaSalle and Cushman & Wakefield, released market reports confirming 2011 growth while predicting investment diversification as prime product in gateway locations remains in relatively short supply.

According to the results of a survey of almost 350 European real estate investors by leading global real estate adviser CBRE, investors have shown a clear strategic shift in their investment preferences in Europe in favor of Germany and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as the most attractive markets in which to purchase real estate in 2011. Approximately one-third of investors intend to target acquisitions in Germany in 2011 compared to 18% in 2010, and around a quarter of investors have CEE as their top investment target this year, up from 16% last year.

Peter Damesick, EMEA Chief Economist, CBRE, commented, "While the majority of demand is focusing on core assets in 2011, we expect an increasing number of investors will start turning to more secondary assets in the second half of the year and into 2012 as a result of the intense competition for core assets. However, while some investors a

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