The second day of the conference began with breakfast on the very windy beach hosted by Four Communications to kickstart the day meeting fellow real estate professionals.
I spent the morning briefing various journalists attending the conference on the state of the West End & Mayfair, including FN News and French publication Business Immo. It was particularly good to catch up with the editors from London Evening Standard’s Homes & Property section, Janice Morley and Kristy Gray, who were eager to hear about the upcoming plans for the Oxford Street District transformation. We are as keen as they are to see Westminster City Council’s plans commence and hope they will prioritise Oxford Street first to ensure it is ‘Crossrail ready’. With two new Crossrail stations making a total of six stations on the street, it will be the gateway to the West End for tourists and Londoners alike.
It was interesting to pop into the talk at the UK Government Pavilion with the Metro Mayors from Manchester, the West Midlands and Liverpool. There was interesting discussion around the distribution of funds to ensure growth is enabled across all the regions and how cities must shape their own stories – a point I completely agree with. For New West End Company, building a successful narrative around the global businesses is key to attracting future investors and new brands to join the community.
For the first time at MIPIM, all the central London BIDs took the opportunity to get together and to look ahead to the opportunities for London. We were joined by Debbie Jackson from the Greater London Authority, who set out City Hall’s aspirations for working with BIDs, communities and public sector partners to deliver good growth and better civic governance in the capital. There was some great conversation about the value that BIDs bring to communities, bringing together key players from public and private sectors to collaborate on projects that truly transform places.
For lunch I was invited to join one of our key members The Crown Estate, at their annual event which brings together London property owners, developers and investors. Hosted by James Cooksey, Director of Central London, who also sits on our board, it was a lively event with conversation around The Crown Estate’s first flexible working office space in the West End, combining work and wellness, with health-focused classes, a roof terrace as well as brand new office facilities.
After this I headed to the London stand for a reception hosted by the Victoria BID where renowned architect and urban designer Jan Gehl gave an animated presentation on the elements that make up successful cities. London can certainly take some inspiration from Copenhagen that has completely transformed into a pedestrian focused city over the last decade.
I ended my day at Property Week’s annual Editor’s dinner, with some of the most influential leaders in UK property. The dinner was superbly chaired by Editor Liz Hamson and I enjoyed some good debate on the latest issues facing the real estate sector. Brexit was of course the top subject for everyone, but we also had a good discussion about the next 50 years in real estate. The highlights video will be available soon, but in the meantime don’t miss my opinion piece in the magazine on what is in store for London’s West End in 2020 and beyond.