Road to recovery

Lawyers from Germany, London and Paris may be having difficulty getting to MIPIM, but those who have made it are experiencing positive vibes, says Orson Alcocer

Orson Alcocer
Orson Alcocer

Just arrived at Mipim! And this one is different – this one is the Mipim of the recovery.

Things look normal for MIPIM: the plane from Madrid was full of lawyers and consultants coming to Cannes (have I mentioned investors?); the Palais continues to be the ugliest building ever conceived (nobody has ever been able to explain to me why the beautiful old belle epoque building was demolished and replaced with this concrete box); and this year there is an undeniable optimism with people talking about new projects and about being busy again.

Tuesday lunchtime is a little quieter than normal, but from what I hear from my colleagues and my clients this is primarily due to the fact that no one seems to be able to get from Germany, London or Paris because of the snow. This seems a little bizarre to those of us currently enjoying the 18 degree sunshine in Cannes, but nonetheless I’m glad that I flew north from Madrid.

Despite the temporarily depleted numbers, the DLA Piper boat is packed. We have an Asia-Pacific networking lunch upstairs, an Italian press meeting in the dining room, a Russian hotel lunch on the deck and a Scandinavian meeting in the lounge. It’s crazy and chaotic with so many conversations in so many languages going on at once, but this is what I love about MIPIM.

My elders have told me about the excesses and glamour of the MIPIMs of old: “I swear to you, we were like the M&A guys”, they say, but I think those days are over. Today, in among the yachts and the receptions, people are determined to uncover opportunities and to meet people that they can really build business relationships with, and this year’s MIPIM definitely has more of a business-like feel. Hopefully the barometer of the real estate market that is MIPIM proves right and this positive mood reflects a definitive change of trend and a pick-up of activity in the Spanish market.

Interest in Spain has definitely improved from previous years. There is now the feeling that there are true investment opportunities in a more stable environment than previously thought, though as note to investors – opportunities do not mean bargains.

From my side, everything is ready: an agenda full of meetings, a full pack of business cards, the best of my smiles. I am determined to bring investors back to Spain.

Orson Alcocer is a partner at DLA Piper