Associate Director, Chithra Marsh, and Associate, Martin Kirkpatrick, report on all the action from Cannes, offering their take on the events and developments unfolding at the world's largest property festival.
After a turbulent start - which involved an aborted landing and a two hour stop-over in Genoa - we finally arrived in France.
Our first night was spent strategising over dinner to identify the areas we want to focus on while we're here, before getting some much needed sleep ahead of what will, no doubt, be a hectic few days.
Sadly, public transport still wasn't on our side this morning as our planned train journey into Cannes was cancelled. Fortunately, a friendly Uber driver was on hand to take us to the heart of the action.
Arrived and registered, our first port of call was Women in Property's beach event, where we heard from Joanne Wicks from Wilberforce Chambers on the importance of creating and sharing stories of equality in the industry.
Next stop was a visit to the hotel area of the pavilion where I'd lined up a series of meetings with some exciting new brands. Despite the Brexit debate, it has been encouraging to see that ambition is still there among hoteliers to build in major cities, and I'm looking forward to continuing these conversation when we're back in the UK.
Off to the Manchester stand next...see you there.
This afternoon, I took a walk around the other cities in bunker. The pavilion was packed with some fantastic models and had a real buzz of prosperity in the air.
It was also good to see the RIBA supporting emerging practices on the London stand. This year, more than 30 practices of varying sizes are exhibiting, and it's promising to see the profession so well represented.
Managed to squeeze in Place North West's and Moda Living's drinks parties and a stroll along the waterfront before finally calling it a day.
- Martin Kirkpatrick
So MIPIM 2019 got off to a shaky start. A couple of attempts to land at Nice made for an interesting roller-coaster ride but on the positive side, the diverted stop-over on the tarmac at Genoa provided a great opportunity to catch up with North West contacts in a 'we’re in this together' environment.
Once we (eventually) arrived in Cannes this morning, we were welcomed by glorious sunshine and La Croisette buzzing with excitement for the week ahead.
The highlight of the morning was hearing about plans for ID Manchester. Launched by the University of Manchester, the 26-acre North Campus site will be a new innovation district comprising of up to 3.5m sq ft of mixed-use space including large areas of public realm.
From the birth of the computer to the invention of graphene, Manchester has an established reputation for world-class research and development. ID Manchester will reinforce this reputation and push the city further into the global spotlight - I look forward to following it as it moves forward.
Now sitting in the sun at Place North West's Opening Drinks party, before heading to the VIP Lancashire Plus dinner this evening.
- Chithra Marsh
Last night, I was pleased to join Rachel McQueen, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire, as her guest at the Lancashire Plus dinner. Masterchef finalist and Head Chef at Hipping Hall, Oli Martin, served up a fantastic meal showcasing the region's food and drink offering.
Also on the menu were talks from David Taylor, Interim Chairman of Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, and Stephen Young, Executive Director at Lancashire County Council, who provided some brilliant insight on the investment opportunities available across the region and the projects being brought forward.
Back in the pavilion this morning for 'The Future is Bright, The Future is Different, and We Are Shaping It' panel discussion at the Cheshire and Warrington stand. The panel shared their views on the role social media can play in engaging the next generation in the future of real estate.
The discussion also focused on the state of the UK's town centres and high streets and what's needed to ensure that they remain attractive and accessible to people of all ages.
The UK's high street is currently experiencing significant change - utilising technology and adopting a fresh and agile approach will be critical in ensuring that we're able to respond to these changes and create a sustainable future for town centres across the UK.
Headed to the Manchester stand this afternoon to hear Greater Manchester Major, Andy Burnham and representatives from Midas, Aviva, OBI Property and Bruntwood, discuss how emerging technologies are driving new workforces and workplaces.
The conversation opened with Andy Burnham outlining Manchester's ambitions to become the UK's leading digital and green city, calling on greater investment in skills and digital talent in order to fulfil this aim.
The panel then examined how technology businesses are transforming the office market, resulting in increased demand for co-working and flexible spaces, and environments that facilitate interaction between large scale organisations and start-ups. Also key to the discussion was the need to create spaces that will attract the bright minds emerging from the city's universities, encouraging them to stay after graduation and become part of the growing digital economy.
"The foundations are in place for exciting times in Greater Manchester" Andy Burnham said, in his closing statement. I can't help but agree.
- Chithra Marsh
It was great to see Scotland so well represented at MIPIM this year. Each of the country's major cities have combined to present their new developments. This included plans for Fountain Ridge in Edinburgh, which took me back to the early years of my career when I worked on the city's council offices and the competition for the Quarter Mile.
The afternoon was spent meeting with solicitors and lenders to get updates on details of new funds available to our clients. Lunch provided a couple of welcome hours away from the pavilion to catch-up with friends and colleagues at Trafford Council and Step Places.
The evening was spent with GL Hearn to discuss development opportunities in Lancashire and how we can enable some of our continued work in that area, before joining the swarms of football fans at the Morrison's bar for a late drink.
- Martin Kirkpatrick
This morning I met with hoteliers and stopped by the Japan pavilion to learn about plans for the world's tallest wooden skyscraper, designed to mark the 350th anniversary of a Japanese company. The 350m building will take 22 years to complete and will cost 600bn yen, the equivalent of £4.2bn.
With such an array of ambitious, record-breaking models on display, I can't help but wonder which ones will actually happen and how many of them are they really thinking about people and place.
- Martin Kirkpatrick
Today started with the 'How Liverpool and Cheshire are Building a World Class Cluster' panel discussion, highlighting the strength of the regions' science offer and the ongoing collaboration between SciTech Daresbury and Knowledge Quarter in Liverpool.
SciTech Daresbury and the Knowledge Quarter are already home to some of the world’s most influential players in science, health, technology, culture and education. By coming together and collaborating with the region's leading universities and research centres, this 'science cluster' has the potential to compete on an international scale.
It's a compelling prospect which could see an influx of high level jobs and talent into these areas, catalysing regional economic growth.
This afternoon, I joined the Lancashire Networking Drinks event and it was a real privilege to meet and chat with cricket legend turned property developer, Freddie Flintoff. He is an incredibly inspirational person and it was a real highlight of the day.
With the festival coming to a close, I've been reflecting on what I've learnt during my week at MIPIM.
I've been impressed by the number of initiatives taking place in each region across the UK, not to mention the rest of the world. It’s mind boggling to see the progress being made.
However, the biggest message I’m taking away is the need for investment into digital skills, collaboration and communities. We need to see more regions working together if we want to make a real difference and economic impact.
I've also been truly proud to be one of the Buttress representatives this year, as over the course of the week it's been heartwarming hear our peers be so complimentary about our contribution to the industry.
MIPIM has not only provided an opportunity for us to reflect on and share our successes, but it's also been fantastic to hear about the great work our industry colleagues are undertaking. It's clear that cities across the North West are determined to be recognised on a global scale, and judging by the talent, ambition and innovation I've seen presented over the last few days, I have no doubt that we'll get there.
I'm now looking forward to the Place North West Closing Drinks party, of which we are one of the sponsors. There I'll be raising a glass to celebrate the end of an incredibly busy but fulfilling week.
Over and out!
- Chithra Marsh