So how was MIPIM in 2022, held in its original formula against a backdrop of the war in Ukraine and the ongoing pandemic?
I must say that my impression was very positive. The atmosphere was full of engagement. It was obvious that visitors had been looking forward to finally meeting in person again. The number of footfalls, exhibitions and events wasn’t far from the “good ol’ days.” So fair to give credit to MIPIM for organizing a good event.
What did people say?
Well, the big issue, especially in the Polish community was, of course, the situation in Ukraine: both the uncertainty and the lack of security the war has generated. And also the humanitarian crisis that affects Poland where millions of Ukrainians have sought shelter and how this influences the day-to-day priorities and short-term goals.
Time for Business?
Of course, we didn’t go to MIPIM just to look nice, worry about the war in Europe and chit-chat. We went to form business relations and talk business. The main topics on the agenda were digitization and ESG for real estate investors, owners and developers.
How was the sentiment then?
Very unbalanced. Is this a good time to sell or buy, or is this a moment to stay put? I heard many voices that certain big funds are waiting right now. At the same time, costs are going up rapidly for owners and developers as interest rates increase. Wages are growing, but lately, the whole energy crisis has been influencing costs on a high scale.
Kraków – A European metropolis
I met Bogusław Kośmider, deputy mayor of Kraków, to find out what the historic city had planned for MIPIM. It’s rare you find in a city like Kraków options to invest and develop key parts of the center. But that’s what the city offers.
“Kraków has prepared plans for new investments that shall increase its area and ensure constant development of the city and offer a platform to push its population from the current 850,000 to 1.1 million in 15 years' time. It is part of our ambitious plan to make Kraków a super attractive city, with attractive work and creative possibilities for future generations,” Kośmider told me.
Wrocław – people first
My talks with Jacek Barski, director, Department of City Strategy and Development in Wrocław, were first based on a deeper understanding of how the Ukrainian situation very much influences the heart of Wrocław’s residents and how they are connected. We also discussed Wrocław’s people-first approach, where the city evaluates many parameters to ensure the highest level of living quality – in terms of greenery, infrastructure and community aspects – when new housing districts are being developed. Barski also underlined that the city is investing a lot in infrastructure: public places, transport and bridges, to further enhance the attractiveness of the city which attracted more than 5 million tourists in 2019.
Last-mile delivery & logistics
I also met Piotr Trzcinski, Savills investment management, and discussed his point of view on the present situation and trends and opportunities. Trzcinski underlined that logistics is clearly a priority for them, especially with interest in sub-sectors of the logistics market, like last mile or whole storage. Trzcinski sees possibilities in Poland in the residential sector – student housing + resi for rent. But with reservations about how Savills will operate in this market, maybe not necessarily as a first mover in new investments.