Big projects are back, according to the organisers of this year’s MIPIM conference in Cannes.
It reflects renewed confidence as signs of recovery return to the real estate sector, with a more optimistic atmosphere on show.
The sheer scale and dramatic design of many of the schemes being exhibited are being seen as a real stimulus to Birmingham and its aspirations.
The Birmingham team of city council officials and private sector sponsors from the city’s interested investors and developers led by council leader Coun Mike Whitby will be able to browse around some extraordinary projects.
Among the outstanding projects are: Dream Hub (South Korea); Stone Towers (Egypt); Monte@Rivers (Nigeria); Barcelona Economic Triangle (Spain); City Palace (Federation of Russia); and Warsaw Bielany District (Poland).
In many cases the architecture is absolutely stunning and, it could be argued, is further evidence of how more advanced others around the world are when it comes to the development of the sort of iconic buildings Birmingham lacks.
So, what is it about the various complexes MIPIM has chosen to focus on that catch the eye?
We can’t all be beside the seaside … but it can be a big advantage.
Bahrain Bay is located off the north-eastern shore of Manama, the Kingdom’s capital and central business district.
The masterplan, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, will see the creation of a waterfront district designed around neighbourhoods of residential, commercial and retail space, all based on the concept of an island connected by two bridges forming an inner harbour.
The £1.66 billion project, which spans 430,000 metres of reclaimed land, will house a population of over 25,000 with more than 40 buildings and towers.
Arcapita Bank, one of the main investors, will have its headquarters built on Bahrain Bay, along with a Four Seasons hotel. And CapitaLand is developing Raffles City Bahrain, a ‘gold-standard’ residential and commercial mixed-use scheme, conceived by architect Rafael Viñoly.
Rooya Group is promoting the launch of Egypt’s prime development, Stone Towers, a state-of-the-art business park. Encompassing approximately 550,000 metres, the business park takes in offices, retail, food and beverage, and a five-star 480-room hotel. There are 18 buildings in total.
“The buildings’ edges visually interlock and merge with the landscape, creating a cohesive composition,” states the literature.
Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, from London, it was commissioned “to develop an outstanding architectural landmark that best presents modern Egypt to the world business community, with an eye on introducing a new landmark in the land of the Nile”.
City Palace Tower, developed by Snegiri Developments, is the 250 metres high centrepiece of the City Palace development in Moscow, situated just four kilometres from the Kremlin. The development comprises a wedding palace, a “twisting” tower of offices, a museum, a supermarket and food courts.
Poland is the featured country at MIPIM and the Pirelli Pekao Real Estate company, together with architects at Autorska Pracownia Architektury Kurylowicz & Associates, has prepared an urban planning proposal for the development of a site formerly occupied by the Huta Warszawa steelworks in Warsaw’s Bielany district.
The project will provide about 7,000 apartments and satisfy a considerable part of Warsaw’s residential needs. It should provide housing for 20,000 people over the next 15 years.
In Spain, the Catalan government and the city of Barcelona have joined together to create the Barcelona Economic Triangle, intended to be one of the main regions of rapid growth and business opportunities in Mediterranean Europe.
The 22@Barcelona project involves the transformation of industrial urban land into an innovative production district for developing knowledge-intensive activities; Alba Park will provide research facilities for materials science, microelectronics and nanotechnology; and the Delta Bcn, will have a range of high-level research centres, services and infrastructure, including a wind tunnel for aerodynamic testing.
Surely, particularly in nanotechnology, a competitor for Birmingham.
Perhaps the most ambitious project, maybe even bizarre, comes from Nigeria. Monte@Rivers is in the Omagwa Area of Great Port Harcourt City.
The developers state: “Monte@Rivers will borrow elements from a traditional Tuscan village, where shoppers and visitors will be emotionally and psychologically transported to Italy.
“For diners, a unique experience will be offered with fine restaurants and seating spilling over onto the streets.
“It will comprise purpose-built office blocks, retail and shopping malls, entertainment halls, a luxury hotel, a conference and events centre with a wedding chapel, additional religious gathering rooms, conference and banqueting facilities.”