The yachts of some companies attending Mipim 2019, moored next to the Palais des Festivals de Cannes.
The yachts of some companies attending Mipim 2019, moored next to the Palais des Festivals de Cannes. VALERY HACHE (AFP)

The music rises in volume on the yachts moored in the marina. Cocktails proliferate on the terraces and balconies of La Croisette boulevard. As the sun disappears, not too late because it is still winter, Cannes exhibits all its charm at the rhythm of a festival. But this has nothing to do with the cinema. Here the greatest star is the architect Jean Nouvel, commander of the Order of Arts and Letters of France, and those around him are basically those who will soon close (if they have not done so) a large urban operation or the construction of a skyscraper he will hear about. They have come to the southeast corner of France to attend Mipim, an obligatory annual meeting for the world’s great brick investors. If it is impossible to keep track of the glasses of champagne that move from hand to hand, it is more complicated to do so with the cards that are exchanged. Because everyone remembers that here comes above all to work. And a lot.

Cannes

Half of the 100 largest real estate investment funds around the world pass through Cannes during Mipim, according to those responsible. Also 80 of the 100 largest investment management companies, with a portfolio of assets of around 2,600 million euros. The fair is attended by promoters, consultants, law firms, hotel chains or banks, although most of the exhibitors are from cities and countries. “It’s the annual meeting of cities with the real estate industry,” says Filippo Rean, director of the Real Estate Division of Reed Midem, the company that organizes the event and has invited EL PAÍS to attend. London, Paris, Moscow or Istanbul mark the passage with large tents next to the Palace of Festivals. Cities that compete for the biggest model or the maximum financing for their projects. Sometimes it is just soil, sometimes a concrete building or the reordering of a new urban area. But where an agreement closes, a red flag is placed. Sold.

Mipim, who celebrated his 30th birthday between March 12 and 15, was not always like that. “30 years ago it was an event very focused on investment and very focused on France, the United Kingdom and Germany,” explains Rean. 29 editions of the fair include Mark Dixon, founder of the firm specialized in shared work spaces IWG (Regus). “I was young when I started,” jokes this 60-year-old Englishman with a fortune estimated at 1,150 million euros according to Forbes. For Dixon, who at business meetings adds lecturer work and a busy schedule of attention to the media, the most interesting thing is that the appointment has become a “melting pot of new things”. In short, as almost all of them come, a place to capture market trends and new business opportunities.