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By Frank McKenna

By Frank McKenna

To be seen on not to be seen? That is the question

Frank McKenna explains why cities who missed MIPIM this year are missing out.

The annual MIPIM property festival, which takes place in Cannes each year, attracts over 20,000 delegates from across the globe.

Many of those who attend are investors, others are from the property and construction sectors – and then there are countries, regions, and cities in abundance, marketing the investable opportunities they have in their places.

At a time when many local authorities in the UK are financially challenged, it is easy to see why the optics of taking a delegation to the South of France may not be as an attractive proposition to council leaders and mayors as it has been in previous years. Mayoral election contests in West Yorkshire, and the West Midlands (not forgetting Birmingham’s financial woes in that part of the world too), will no doubt have played a part in the decision of Leeds and Birmingham not having a presence at MIPIM this year.

However, ask anyone from Belfast, Liverpool, Manchester, and Newcastle if it was worth the investment they made to the festival, and they will reply emphatically ‘Yes’ – and more importantly perhaps, their private sector partners will wholeheartedly agree with them too.

For all the potential brickbats that can be thrown the way of local government officials and politicians who do attend what some will always cynically suggest is a ‘jolly’, the fact that MIPIM is possibly the biggest shop window a city has to show off to international investors surely means that – particularly post-Brexit – our cities need to be promoting themselves on this stage as hard as they can.

Leeds will claim that being the host city to UKREiiF offers them a credible alternative platform. Birmingham and the West Midlands will go big there too. But, as much as UKREiiF is a useful opportunity to connect with UK developers and a small number of investors, it is not an ‘instead’ of MIPIM option.

Hats off to those places who were prepared to step up and take any stick that may have come their way for attending MIPIM 2024. I hope those who dipped out this year will reconsider in 2025. Their cities are, without a doubt, missing out.

Downtown in Business