For us, this year’s MIPIM was all about optimism. For our business, it is the premier opportunity to gather information and bring together our experts from the UK and Europe to meet with our clients and the real estate industry. As always, and in keeping with tradition, we like to do it in an all together different way – and with focus. 

This year, we kicked off in Cannes on Monday with a cycle up to Col de la Madone, with friends from some of the market-leading industrial and logistics sectors and a post ride dinner, before hosting our busiest event programme to date on our rooftop. It was clear from the outset and the responses to our invites that numbers were up, and that there were a lot more first-timers attending from all businesses – and Hollis certainly lead on that front. Our team included a number of our future leaders and sector heads across ESG, project and cost management, building and fire safety, transactions, development, rights to light, student accommodation, logistics and industrial, hotels, offices, and BTR/PRS/Co-living. 

We hosted two insightful brunch talks on our rooftop which were the talk of MIPIM. The first focused on repurposing real estate and featured guest speaker Dan Campbell, from the leading London retrofit architectural firm Stiff + Trevillion. The discussions covered the practicalities and key considerations when bringing 1930s and 1980s offices up to modern standards; converting offices to life science labs; altering heritage buildings to alternative uses (including a listed building in Liverpool to a Radisson and a former bank in Amsterdam to a Rosewood hotel); and futureproofing industrial units.   

The second talk, held in conjunction with Property Week as part of their ‘Get Set to Net Zero’ campaign, featured top advisers from across the market, including Nuveen’s head of ESG Abigail Dean, and our own Katherine Beisler, who manages ESG across our UK and European regions, discussing the importance of collaboration in achieving net zero. 

Here we have summarised some of the key themes to have come out of our conversations. 


Cautious optimism may sound like a bit of a cliché, but there is a general feeling that there is enough funding out there for the market to start growing again. 

Those with private equity that have raised capital in recent years whilst watching values fall, are ready to spend and will take their opportunities quickly. However, many of those who are at the end of an investment cycle are reporting that they are still struggling to find cash and an exit. 

The funding market itself is changing; open ended funds are few and far between, with smaller REITS needing to merge in order to be competitive.  

As we have started seeing, inflation is expected to fall and keep falling, with interest rates likely to follow, but not quickly and not to where it was. When that tipping point arrives though, the feeling is that the market will pivot quickly, depending on what sector you are in. There is also plenty of cash from the US circling and waiting for this moment before committing. 

For those looking at how to diversify their investment portfolios and explore new markets, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic were mentioned as the countries to watch. 

Refinancing continues to be a struggle and the expectation is that some lenders will soon start taking back assets to then sell when the market returns. This will create more administration amongst investors and more winners and losers! 

Contractors seem to be aware of the restrictions on funding and said they are still taking steps to make sure they can be competitive with their bidding. 


It won’t come as much of a surprise to hear the ESG was a hot topic amongst developers, investors and advisors alike. The market is becoming more mature and has moved on driven by societal demands and legislative changes. Conversations are changing, reflecting the fact that investors and occupiers need to show how their use of the built environment matches their corporate credentials. 

We also noticed that developers and asset managers were more focused on the bigger improvements that can be made. They wanted to talk about decarbonisation, clever use of solar & EV charging and the reality of embodied carbon. 


Another topic that was the theme of one of our rooftop events, the repurposing of assets through retrofitting seemed to be high on the agenda. Considering an existing building’s re-use potential is now a common part of the appraisal process, with owners, lenders and buyers exploring all angles. 

From the conversations we had, there does seem to be a sector split when it comes to retrofitting, with the office, living and retail sectors embracing it quicker than life-sciences and industrial. 

Market sectors 

Industrial: Big shed developers seemed to be out in force at MIPIM, both those from the UK and Europe. Many of the big European developers are looking to make their mark in the UK, and confidence is high. That said, whilst the industrial market is still firm and last-mile logistics needs won’t go away, investors were stating an appetite for multi-let sheds instead of big boxes. 

Office: Everyone seems to have a slightly different stance on the future of the office market, but there was a feeling that the sector isn’t too far from hitting the bottom of the market and when that happens there will be no shortage of investment activity. 

Living: When it comes to the living sector, the clear areas of interest are PBSA and Build to Rent, which are seen as long-term investment options. There appeared to be more people operating in this space than in previous years, which is a clear sign of confidence.  

Life sciences: Those who know the market see it as a long-term bet, but others are finding there are too many barriers to entry. This is hampering competition and growth. 

Amidst the market updates and business discussions we also found time to have fun in Cannes. Our talks were bookended by early morning yoga sessions against the backdrop of a stunning sunrise and sea views, rooftop lunches and our signature Hollis cocktail being served for our afternoon parties. We also enjoyed podcast sessions courtesy of Wouter Truffino, REBF, and look forward to listening to and sharing the insights gathered. 

We have been overwhelmed with the positive feedback and messages of thanks from our clients, with one remarking that the Hollis closing dinner on Thursday evening was like a “warm hug” at the end of a somewhat gruelling week. And on that note, the focus on MIPIM 2024 was very much about optimistic, constructive conversations, doing business and reconnecting with so many of our friends.

You can view our highlights video from MIPIM 2024 here.  

Mark Hampson

Head of Commercial and Clients
Management Board

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