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Real Estate Board, Brokers Outraged About Vacancy Tax Talks

As Mayor Bill de Blasio jumps on the “vacancy tax” bandwagon, the Real Estate Board of New York and brokers are crying out in opposition.

Details on a potential vacancy tax—which would levy landlords that let their retail spaces sit vacant for long periods of time—have been scant, but Blasio said he would support one in an interview on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC last Friday.

“I am very interested in fighting…for a vacancy fee or a vacancy tax that would penalize landlords who leave their storefronts vacant for long periods of time in neighborhoods because they are looking for some top-dollar rent but they blight neighborhoods by doing it,” de Blasio said.

REBNY said the new tax, which originated with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer last year, is hogwash. The organization claimed that that’s not the solution when vacancies are coming as a result of economic issues that tenants face, rather than landlords, such as minimum wage increases, the paid sick leave requirement and the battle against e-commerce.

“The city’s retail environment is going through a transition primarily due to macro-market forces, like Amazon, and increasingly unfriendly local regulations,” John Banks, the president of REBNY, said in a prepared statement provided to Commercial Observer in response to the mayor’s comments. “Property owners take a substantial financial hit when they are unable to secure a tenant. A vacancy tax, premised on a flawed set of assumptions, will punish owners further and do nothing to address vacancy.”

Brewer’s office did a survey last May that identified 188 empty storefronts from the Battery to Inwood. While she didn’t didn’t provide the total number of storefronts, she said at the time that the “data will be the starting point in finding policy solutions to this problem.” In response, Cushman & Wakefield studied a slightly smaller area the following month. On Broadway between Bowling Green and 146th Street, the brokerage recorded 133 vacant stores out of 1,580 storefronts, representing a vacancy rate of 8.4 percent.

Brokers with whom CO spoke called allegations that landlords are leaving their spaces purposefully empty is erroneous, because it would result in landlords losing revenue.

“I have never met a single one of them that thinks like ‘let’s keep it vacant and I am confident that rents will go up in the next few years,’ ” said Steven Soutendijk, an executive managing director at C&W. “There is almost no justification for keeping your space vacant.”

He added later: “It’s not good for [landlord’s] buildings. It doesn’t help if you have 30 apartments that you are trying to rent and a vacant space on your ground floor.”

Other brokers said that ultimately tenants will be the ones that end up paying for any new tax, because landlords would have to raise rents higher to offset the cost.

But because of all of the vacancies—if there is no new tax—brokers expect rents will come down and subsequently deals will get done to fill those empty spaces.

In fact, asking rents for the top commercial strips in Manhattan were flat or down in the final quarter of 2017 when compared with the same period in 2016, according to C&W. (The 2018 first-quarter statistics were not available yet.)

The largest declines could be found in Soho, which experienced an 16.7 drop to $440 per square foot from $528 a year earlier. Also, there was an 11.7 percent slump in Herald Square to $691 a foot from $783 a foot.

Not only will rents continue to fall to meet the market demands, but also more tenants are taking shorter-term leases to test the market, such as one- or two-year deals, according to Chris DeCrosta, a co-founder of retail brokerage GoodSpace. Afterward, if sales are up, they’ll sign longer leases.

“[Tenants] are just trying to justify that the rents justify the sales. They are tired of landlords saying that this is market rent,” DeCrosta said. “They’ll pay market rent but they want to make sure that they can make money there.”

There are some legitimate reasons for keeping a space vacant, according to TerraCRG’s Peter Schubert. Landlords could be planning to redevelop or renovate their building or are currently in negotiations with tenants, which could last around six months but sometimes as long as two years.

He also explained that sometimes when a deal gets done, stores don’t open immediately because they are waiting on permits, like a liquor license.

“People complain about [vacancies], but they don’t know what is happening behind the scenes,” Schubert said.

To find out more about what is going on behind the scenes, Brewer has called on the City Council to establish a database of vacant properties, in which landlords would be required to report the space as empty and when a new lease is signed and when tenants begins to use it, according to her testimony at the City Council in December 2017.  

There would be a small fee for registration and a larger fine for owners who don’t adhere to the rules after a certain period, a spokesman for Brewer told CO via email.

“If we’re going to tackle vacant storefronts, we need to know what we are dealing with,” Brewer said via prepared remarks. “If we can get a handle on how many vacant storefronts there are, where they are, and how long they’re vacant, we’ll have a much better idea of what the problem is and how to solve it.”

Regarding the vacancy tax, Brewer’s spokesman noted that there is no specific proposal on the table yet and a vacancy tax would likely require authorization from the legislature in Albany.

Source: commercial

China-Based Ucommune Joins NYC’s Coworking Fray

About eight years into the coworking phenomenon in the Big Apple, Chinese giant Ucommune opened its first outlet in the city at 28 Liberty Street via a partnership with Rye, N.Y.-based flexible workspace provider Serendipity Labs.

And the founder of the Chinese company isn’t scared off by the competition.

“Definitely the competition is there. [But] I think good competition is a good thing [for] companies to modify their products and to improve the service,” Mao Daqing, the founder of Ucommune, told Commercial Observer during a tour of the new Financial District coworking location today. “If the industry has no competition, then I think it’s horrible.”

20180328 105548 China Based Ucommune Joins NYC’s Coworking Fray
The pantry area of the new Serendipity Labs and Ucommune space. Photo: Liam La Guerre/Commercial Observer.

Daqing added that he believes coworking as an industry is still in its infancy. He believes that even more tenants will choose shared offices over traditional leases, and that will create opportunities for growth.

“I feel this industry is very young,” Daqing said. “In the future, I think this is going to be a new style of working. It’s not just a physical office, it’s a new culture.”

Since its launch three years ago, Ucommune—formerly known as UrWork—has become the biggest coworking company in China with more than 140 locations. It’s now valued at $1.7 billion and has roughly 7,000 members.

Serendipity Labs, which has more than 100 locations across the country (including a new one in Los Angeles, as per CO), holds the lease at 28 Liberty Street, with Ucommune as an investor. The foreign company chose to pump money into the 28 Liberty Street outpost because it will provide a convenient work space for Chinese business owners traveling to New York City.

“There is a lot of Chinese companies that come here,” Daqing said. “So we wanted to [have] some service for them and our members in China.”

Members of Ucommune in China can use their app to book space at the Serendipity Labs FiDi location when they are in New York City. And Daqing added that he’s had discussions with Serendipity Labs about another location in Gotham. But he’s just poking around right now.

Source: commercial

Brookfield Property Partners Strikes Deal to Acquire GGP

Brookfield Property Partners is set to become the 100-percent owner of GGP, according to a joint news release issued today by the companies, after agreeing a deal to pick up the remaining 66 percent of the real estate investment trust and mall owner it does not own.

Brookfield, which is the largest real estate arm of parent company Brookfield Asset Management, upped the cash consideration of its unsuccessful November 2017 offer for GGP to $23.50 per share, from $23 per share previously. That results in a $1.85 billion increase in Brookfield’s aggregate cash offering for the mall REIT, to $9.25 billion from $7.4 billion. (The $23.50 per share price is a premium for GGP stock, which closed at $21.21 a share today.)

“Since receiving Brookfield’s initial proposal in November, [GGP’s] special committee has conducted extensive due diligence, specifically evaluating the optimal consideration structure for GGP’s shareholders,” said Daniel Hurwitz, the lead director and chairman of the GGP special committee tasked with evaluating Brookfield’s bid to acquire the company.

“After careful consideration, assisted by our independent advisers, the special committee determined that Brookfield’s improved proposal, which includes an increase in the cash portion of the consideration and the ability to receive shares in a newly listed REIT entity, provides GGP shareholders with certainty of value, as well as upside potential through ownership in a globally diversified real estate company,” Hurwitz said.

Upon approval of the acquisition by GGP shareholders, the combined Brookfield and GGP companies will have $90 billion in total assets and net operating income of more than $4 billion, according to the release. Under the terms of the deal, GGP shareholders can choose to receive $23.50 per share in cash, one Brookfield share or one unit of a new “BPY U.S. REIT.”

Brookfield, which already owned 34 percent of GGP, played a major role in helping the Chicago-based mall operator emerge out of bankruptcy in 2010.

“This is a compelling transaction that enables GGP shareholders to receive premium value for their shares and gives them the ability to participate in the long-term upside of their investment,” Brian Kingston, the CEO of Brookfield, said in a prepared statement. “We are pleased to have reached an agreement and are excited about combining Brookfield’s access to large-scale capital and deep operating expertise across multiple real estate sectors with GGP’s portfolio of irreplaceable retail assets.”

GGP hasn’t been Brookfield’s only acquisition target as of late.

Brookfield was reportedly in talks to acquire Forest City Realty Trust in January, but last week Forest City announced that it would re-organize its board rather than go through with a sale.

Additional reporting provided by Rebecca Baird-Remba.

Source: commercial

Brooklyn Navy Yard Taps Former NYCHA Exec Michael Kelly as COO

The Brooklyn Navy Yard, the multi-use development on the Brooklyn’s East River waterfront south of Williamsburg, has named Michael Kelly its new COO.

Kelly, 54, served most recently as the general manager of the New York City Housing Authority, a position he resigned from in late January (he held this job from 2009 to 2011 and then again from April 2015 to late January). In his new role, Kelly will be in charge of overseeing the 300-acre Brooklyn complex’s property management team as it navigates a colossal expansion. He replaces Sukanya Paciorek, who left the COO role in January, according to her profile on LinkedIn.

The Navy Yard, which includes the 580,000-square-foot Steiner Studios production facility and hosts Brooklyn College‘s graduate cinema program, is in the midst of tidal growth. Developer Douglas Steiner, who acquired the site in 1999, is tacking on 165,000 square feet of additional retail space and 360,000 square feet of offices at the complex.

“BNYDC continues to demonstrate its ability to fulfill its mission of creating middle-class jobs for New Yorkers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard,” David Ehrenberg, the development’s CEO, said in a statement. “Its success is based on the experience, capabilities and devotion of its team, which now includes Michael Kelly. His decades of experience will greatly support BNYDC in the management of the…campus.”

After beginning his career at San Francisco’s housing agency in 1983, Kelly became the first architect to lead a major city’s residential policy arm when he became head of that organization in 1994. Kelly went on to serve as the director of city housing agencies in New Orleans, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

Despite a successful career that garnered national attention for his efforts to house the urban homeless, Kelly was briefly dogged by scandal during his time at the head of Philadelphia’s housing agency. Near the end of his tenure there, reports surfaced that the official had improperly favored a female staffer with whom he was having a consensual affair. Internal investigators at the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development cleared Kelly of any wrongdoing.

In addition to his master’s degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, Kelly earned a master’s degree in education from San Francisco State University and an undergraduate diploma from Princeton University.

Kelly was not available for comment, but said in a prepared statement: “It’s a thrill to be part of this remarkable and innovative effort to create jobs and promote mission-driven economic development.”

Source: commercial

[Video] Standing Out: Q&A With S9Architecture

Commercial Observer sits down with S9’s X and Y to discuss their Brooklyn projects, the New York Wheel and how to keep it real in a world of cookie cutter architecture.

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0:36 – How do you implement authenticity into your projects and why are different designers and companies pressing the message more?
2:13 – What was the inspiration behind the Neptune/Sixth project in Coney Island?
3:24 – What challenges did you face with the Dock 72 project?
5:18 – With outside obstacles, are you concerned that the New York Wheel project won’t be completed in time?

Berdon LLP, founded in 1917, is one of the top 40 accounting and advisory firms in the U.S.  With more than 400 professionals and staff, Berdon provides its clients with an array of accounting, tax, financial, and management advisory services. Through its specialized expertise and a team of more than 100 CPAs and advisors, Berdon’s Real Estate Practice advises many of New York’s—as well as the country’s—prominent real estate entities and is one of the largest Real Estate Practices in the nation.

Source: commercial

David Cheikin Leaving Post as Head of NY and Boston Region for Brookfield

David Cheikin, an executive vice president and the head of the New York and Boston offices for Brookfield Property Partners, is leaving the company after nearly 16 years, Commercial Observer has learned.

He resigned earlier this month, according to a Brookfield spokesman, but has agreed to stay on through the end of March. According to the representative, Cheikin “is going to pursue other opportunities.” One source said Cheikin “is going to take a vacation and look around after that.”

According to Cheikin’s LinkedIn profile, he has had “overall responsibility for the performance of Brookfield’s 25-million-square-foot commercial portfolio, inclusive of asset management, office leasing, retail leasing, property marketing, property operations and on site arts/activation.”

Ric Clark, the senior managing partner and the chairman of Brookfield Property Partners, said of Cheikin’s departure in prepared remarks: “Dave leaves Brookfield having had a significant impact on our New York and Boston business over his 16-year tenure. Among many other things, he was instrumental in overseeing the redevelopment and leasing of Brookfield Place New York, which has been a tremendous success by every measure. He also played a vital role in helping to position Manhattan West to become one of New York City’s most dynamic places upon its completion.”

Effective April 1, Ben Brown, a senior vice president at Brookfield Properties, will assume Cheikin’s position, the Brookfield spokesman said.

“Ben has been with Brookfield since 2010 in various roles of increasing seniority, including head of New York and Boston acquisitions since his return last year from London, where he held a similar position,” the spokesman emailed.

Cheikin, who was an analyst and associate at JLL from June 1997 to May 2001, declined to comment through the company spokesman and didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment.

Source: commercial

MIPIM: Ooh La La! Now Is the Time to Consider Investing in CRE in France

American real estate investors have enjoyed booming profits at home since 2010 as the U.S. economy has grown steadily following the recession, but it’s a different story in France, according to Boris Cappelle, the managing director & head of investment for Savills’ French office.

The French economy has lagged behind the U.S., not showing much growth in the years following the 2008 downturn. But things are finally starting to turn around in France, meaning there will be opportunities for global real estate investors and developers, Cappelle told Commercial Observer at the Marché International des Professionnels d’Immobilier (MIPIM) in Cannes, France on Tuesday.

A big reason for this shift, he said, is that French President Emmanuel Macron, who took the helm in May 2017, signed new labor rules last September that allow employers more freedom to fire employees without steep financial penalties, giving business leaders more flexibility in the hiring process. The lighter rules are also good for domestic companies as well as foreign ones as the latter are used to more relaxed regulations.

“We are coming from a period where our ex-president, [François Hollande, was seen] as very left wing, to someone who is much more balanced,” Cappelle said. “So international money wants to be invested [in France].”

In addition, thanks to Brexit—in which the United Kingdom voted in 2016 to withdraw from the European Union—companies started moving their offices from the U.K. to Paris and other European cities to avoid unforeseen problems that could result from the separation from the EU.

Business leaders thought “ ‘Why shouldn’t I move part of my team either to Paris or to Frankfurt and invest into Continental Europe?’ ” Cappelle said. “You know investors, when they feel a risk, they move.”

The icing on the cake is that France plans to reduce corporate taxes, which was one of the highest in Europe. This past December, the French parliament approved a gradual decrease of the corporate income tax from 33.33 percent to 25 percent by 2022, as was widely reported.

As a result of the business-friendly labor policy, the effects from Brexit and plans to decrease business taxes, France has seen robust job growth.

More than 268,000 jobs were added in France last year, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques (INSEE), which is the country’s statistics bureau. That’s up from the 236,300 jobs created in 2016 and just 103,100 new positions in 2015, as the Huffington Post reported.  

And the unemployment rate in France has dropped to 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 from 10 percent year-over-year, according to other INSEE data.

With more jobs on the way there will be plenty of demand for new commercial developments, Cappelle said.

“So you’ve got the general economy improving, potential new [impact] from Brexit and new jobs which are being created, etc.,” he said, “so this increases the need for space.”  

Source: commercial

MIPIM: US Experts Tell World America Is Loaded With Opportunities, So Act Fast

Those that attended Commercial Observer’s panel on United States real estate investing today—the second day of the annual MIPIM (or Marché International des Professionnels d’Immobilier) property conference in Cannes, France—were told there are ample deals to be made in America.

At the event “Developing & Investing in the United States: Where, What & How?” some of the most prolific developers and lenders in the U.S. told real estate professionals not to worry about reports of rising interest rates, to expand their horizons beyond premium “gateway” markets (like New York City or San Francisco) and to act quickly or risk losing the deal.

Brookfield Property Partners Senior Managing Partner and Chairman Ric Clark opened the event by talking about the three trends his company sees affecting the U.S. real estate market: booming population growth of urban areas; the rise of millennials and increases in innovation; and technology for properties.  

Expanding on the first point, Clark said that cities around the U.S. are projected to have 350 million residents in the year 2050, up from 125 million in 1960. In 2014, he said, that figure was 258 million people. 

“Growing urban populations clearly present major challenges, but also major opportunities for those in the real estate business,” Clark told the audience. “The new city dwellers are going to need places to live and work, new schools and hospitals and a massive investment infrastructure will also be required.”

Bruce Mosler, the chairman of global brokerage at Cushman & Wakefield, moderated the first panel about developers’ thoughts on the market, which included Hines CEO of Capital Markets and the East Region Christopher Hughes; SL Green Realty Corp. co-Chief Investment Officer Isaac Zion; and Eran Polack, CEO and co-founder of HAP Investments.

Mosler informed the crowd of the reduced investment activity in New York City and other U.S. gateway markets, which resulted in a 23 percent drop to $96 billion last year from $125 billion in 2016. Comparatively, total investment in non-gateway U.S. markets dropped to $300 billion in 2017 from $339 billion in the previous year—just a 3 percent dip.

Hughes mentioned that investors need not focus only on gateway cities, because there are great opportunities elsewhere in the country.

“It’s a default to look at the gateway cities,” Hughes said. “As you start to look at the U.S. markets you should pay attention to the broader U.S. markets. You’ll make a mistake if you come to the U.S. and think there are only three cities to invest in. Follow the education [centers]; follow the underlying demand drivers.”

Zion pointed out that foreign investors need to understand that deals in the U.S. happen fast, so they need to be decisive.

“The quick ‘yes’ is always the best answer,” he said. “The quick ‘no’ is almost as good. It’s the long, long ‘maybe’ which unfortunately happens way too often. And if you are in that position you are not going to be able to act on potential opportunities.”

The second panel, moderated by Jonathan Mechanic, the chairman of the law firm real estate department at Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, focused on lenders’ views of the U.S. market, and featured panelists Michael Shields, a managing director of ING Real Estate Finance; Christoph Donner, CEO of Allianz Real Estate of America; and Alexander Joerg, a managing director and head of real estate finance at Landesbank Baden-Württemberg.

Since capitalization rates—the expected rate of return on a project—are higher in the U.S. than in major European markets, investors can see a lot of upside, Shields said.

“You are breaking 3 [percent] caps in Paris and Berlin, so our risk guys when they see a 5 [percent cap rate], even though the base rate is higher, they like the U.S.,” Shields said. “And it’s such a big market. There are so many deals compared to [Europe]. London and Paris are the only two markers that have deal flow that compares to the U.S. So we could be a lot more selective and cherry pick a bit and figure out where we can actually compete.”

And since interest rates are climbing, now is the time to act, said Donner, who suspects that the movement in rates will boost deals.

“I think we are going to see more volume just because rising interest rates [means] it’s time now for clients to lock in rates for the long term,” he said, “because on a really long-term perspective these are ultra-low rates.”

Source: commercial

Former SL Green Exec, Massey Mayoral Adviser David Amsterdam Lands at Colliers

Colliers International Group has found a new president for eastern-region investment and leasing in David Amsterdam, a veteran commercial real estate executive, formerly of SL Green Realty Corp., Colliers announced today.

The new role will put Amsterdam in charge of the company’s team in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., leading the firm’s advisory business for clients including investors, corporate tenants and landlords.

“I am very excited to join Colliers and assume a leadership role in driving the company’s future growth … in New York City, the world’s most important real estate market,” Amsterdam said in a statement. “Colliers has demonstrated a commitment to hiring a world-class leadership team and I look forward to capitalizing on the many opportunities we see that will bring value to our clients and our professionals.”

Amsterdam, a graduate of Syracuse University, joined SL Green in 2011 from Cushman & Wakefield, but left the real estate investment trust in August 2016 to head the mayoral campaign of Paul Massey, the C&W executive who challenged Bill de Blasio in his 2017 reelection bid. After struggling to gain support, Massey dropped out of the race five months before election day, citing the high costs of campaigning against an established incumbent with a nascent national profile.

“[Amsterdam] is one of my favorite people in the industry, and has been for a long time,” Massey said. “He’s a tireless worker, and I think Colliers is lucky to have landed him.”

Dylan Taylor, Colliers’ COO, emphasized that Amsterdam’s hiring is part of a long play for preeminence in the northeast.

“We have known David for several years and are thrilled to have him spearheading our firm in these extremely competitive, important markets,” Taylor said in prepared remarks. “This strategic hire greatly strengthens our U.S. leadership team and further positions our platform as a leading global real estate services provider.”

Amsterdam—who worked as a Beverly Hills talent agent before beginning a career in the real estate industry—was not immediately available to comment further on his new position.

Source: commercial

It’s MIPIM Time: Why You Should Be Excited for the Cannes Conference

Once again, it’s that time of the year for real estate professionals across the globe to head to Cannes, France.

Just two months ahead of the invitation-only Cannes Film Festival, where movie stars will take to the sandy city on the French Riviera and no doubt trade Harvey Weinstein horror stories, tens of thousands of men and women in business suits carrying briefcases and card holders will storm the streets of Cannes hunting deals during the annual MIPIM (or Marché International des Professionnels d’Immobilier) conference on March 13 through March 16.

The bulk of the events, which is organized by Reed Exhibitions subsidiary Reed MIDEM, will be held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, a massive conference center on the Cannes waterfront.

MIPIM’s theme for the 29th annual conference is “Mapping World Urbanity,” and the event’s programming will try to address issues like, How will we live in cities in 2030 and 2050? And, what are the best strategies for building future cities in a globalized world?

There are plenty of reasons to be excited for MIPIM, but to approach a conference as big as this (with more than 24,000 people), a roadmap might prove useful. We talked with a few MIPIM-goers from the U.S. to get an idea of what the sophisticated attendant should look out for this year.

Networking (duh)

With approximately 24,200 expected participants from over 100 countries, it’s more than possible to find the right person to talk to at MIPIM, whatever your needs may be.

Of the attendees, there will be 5,000 investors and financial institutions, 4,500 developers, and 3,800 CEOs and chairpeople scrambling around the waterfront and in the Palais des Festivals. And there will be more than 3,100 exhibiting companies.  

And in case the conference center isn’t your scene to swap business cards, networking parties will take over the swanky hotels, luxury yachts and the beach.

pim17 0550 Its MIPIM Time: Why You Should Be Excited for the Cannes Conference
With an array of events and booths, there’s ample opportunities for networking at MIPIM. Photo: MIPIM

“The most important thing for me is the networking,” said Susan Greenfield of Brown Harris Stevens, who has been to the event for 28 consecutive years and has already booked her flight for No. 29. “I go every year because it’s the one place in the entire year where I see almost everyone I know from around the global at the same time.”

She added, “The thing that is so important about this event is you get so many decision-makers. One day I was walking down the street [in Cannes] and who could be facing me walking the other direction? Harry Macklowe. I said, ‘What are you doing here?’ He said, ‘I’m here to look for money, what are you doing here?’ ”

City and country exhibitions

If you’re thinking global and want to know what investment opportunities there are in cities abroad, this is the event for you.

The European cities put on a show at MIPIM, bringing large-scale panoramas of entire cities and models of megaprojects to dedicated pavilions. Last year, London and Istanbul had massive jaw-dropping displays.

“Some of the models and booths are off the charts,” said Jay Olshonsky, the president of NAI Global, who has gone to MIPIM for seven consecutive years and is returning this year. “Some people told me some of the models there are million-dollar [displays]. I always leave two or three hours for myself to walk around because you always see something you’ve never seen before.”  

“Le Grand Paris,” the name for the pavilion dedicated to the City of Lights, will feature 19 exhibitions and events each day. Belgium’s pavilion will feature experts and models of Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia, while Holland’s space will be dedicated to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague.

pim17 0688 Its MIPIM Time: Why You Should Be Excited for the Cannes Conference
Model displays of cities and large developments are popular in MIPIM, such as this one of London last year. Photo: MIPIM

On top of these, there will be booths dedicated to countries from Asia, Africa and North America. Not that the models and displays of cities are there just to be pretty or promote specific projects and the companies that are developing them; more than 370 political leaders and 500 representatives from cities will be in attendance to talk about development in their cities, attract developers and get investments in their locales. (We’ve already heard from the Moscow delegation!)

“If you go to ICSC in Vegas, which is by far a bigger show [with 37,000 attendees], it’s more about the displays about the companies [not cities],” Olshonsky said. “New York City doesn’t come and display at ICSC like Paris does in MIPIM.”

Panel events and keynote speeches

It’s not all deal-making and networking—MIPIM is also a place to learn about development trends across the globe. The event will feature more than 360 keynote speeches and well over 120 panels, sessions, workshops and networking socials covering a wide variety of topics—from Asia and Europe to sustainability and logistics.

And those events will also serve to gather experts across the globe and offer opportunities to get someone’s ear.

“[After networking,] the second thing that I find very valuable is attending these program and panels because I learn so much,” Greenfield said. “You never stop learning and real estate is always changing. If you don’t stay ahead, if you don’t stay involved, if you don’t stay knowledgeable, then you are going to miss out.”

Some panels to look out for include “Self-Driving Cars: Bringing a New Face to our Cities,” “Smart Housing: What Millennials Expect,” “Belt and Road Initiative: Capturing Opportunities Through Hong Kong” and “Urban Logistics: the Next Challenge for Cities.”

pim17 0360 Its MIPIM Time: Why You Should Be Excited for the Cannes Conference
The comprehensive panels with world-class experts are plentiful at MIPIM. Photo: MIPIM

And even Commercial Observer is getting in on the action, co-organizing the U.S.-focused two-panel event entitled “Developing and Investing in the United States: Where, What & How?” on the morning of March 14 at The Ruby Room in Palais des Festivals.

Ric Clark, Brookfield Property Group’s senior managing director and chairman, will deliver the keynote address and Jonathan Mechanic, the chairman of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson’s real estate department, will moderate the panels. Cushman & Wakefield’s Bruce Mosler, SL Green Realty Corp.’s Isaac Zion, Hines’ Christopher Hughes, Hap Investments’ Eran Polack and Allianz’ Christoph Donner are just some of the panelists. (You can find us there!)

Tech

Come for the drinks and deals, but stay for the tech!

For the past couple of years, the presence of property technology companies has grown at MIPIM. As the sector is becoming a force in the industry—making more investors curious about what’s next to come—MIPIM has stepped up to provide some answers.

There will be a PropTech Lab event at MIPIM for the first time on March 15, where  invite-only real estate executives and tech leaders will meet and talk about the increased impact of technology on real estate.  

“MIPIM events and conferences will be great opportunities for members of the REBNYTech team to meet with industry leaders of tomorrow,” Ryan Baxter, a Real Estate Board of New York vice president for management services and government affairs, who is heading to MIPIM this year again and is a member of the advisory board of MIPIM PropTech, said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to learning more about smart cities and human-centric innovation efforts from around the world.”  

MIPIM also serves as the final leg of the third-annual MIPIM Startup Competition, an international tech competition in partnership with MetaProp NYC, a real estate tech accelerator. Nine finalists at the nexus of tech and real estate were selected from three previous events, MIPIM U.K., MIPIM Asia and MIPIM PropTech (in Manhattan), and those companies will face off in Cannes to determine the best of the lot on March 14.

The competitors from New York City’s MIPIM PropTech that are heading to Cannes are Real Atom, the first online marketplace for commercial real estate debt financing; PlanRadar, a digital software that facilitates project management for construction companies; and Acasa, an app that helps individuals manage household bills.

The winner will receive three passes to both MIPIM U.K. and MIPIM Asia 2018, four passes to MIPIM 2019 (again in Cannes), an automatic selection as a finalist for MetaProp NYC’s 2018 accelerator program as well as brand exposure and coaching at this year’s MIPIM.

And take in Cannes, for goodness sake!

“If you think about it, if you have got to go somewhere 6,000 miles away—for you and I, it’s not too shabby to go to the south of France,” Olshonsky said.  

Cannes is packed with bars, restaurants, hotels and historic buildings all within walking distance of the beach. For those looking to notch Michelin stars on their belts, there are plenty of options. La Palme d’Or, Villa Archange, Paloma and L’Oasis all hold multiple stars.

There are luxury hotels all around the beach area of Cannes. Some leading contenders are Hotel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes, InterContinental Carlton Cannes Hotel and Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez thanks to their astounding architecture and rich history.

And speaking of history, while you’re in town for a real estate expo, why not do a little sightseeing? Cannes is home to Eglise Notre Dame d’Espérance, a 17th century gothic church set atop a hill that overlooks the port area and it provides some amazing views. And there is also the Musée de la Castre, a museum that is set in a castle built by 11th-century monks.

Also just like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Cannes is known for Allée des Étoiles du Cinéma, where stars leave their handprints. Finally, don’t forget to talk a stroll along the Promenade de la Croisette if you didn’t already do so on your way to and from the convention center.

Source: commercial