Our 17th ULI Europe Annual Conference in Paris was amongst our most successful yet. Over 500 industry leaders from 24 different countries participated in this week’s event making it the highest attendance we have seen since the start of the economic downturn in 2008.
The mood of the conference was one of cautious optimism. No one is expecting market conditions to improve rapidly, but there is an increasing confidence amongst Europe’s real estate leadership that there are meaningful investment opportunities for those with the expertise and access to capital.
There were many highlights at this year’s conference. Speeches from Christian Sautter, the Deputy Mayor of Paris and Fred Swaniker, Chief Executive of the African Leadership Academy, made our Leadership Dinner one of the most memorable to date. The lively debate on the European economy between Professor Andrea Boltho, Jean Michel-Six and Professor Arthur Segal was one of the most popular sessions, but it was Thomas Garbutt’s announcement that TIAA-CREFF would be venturing into European real estate lending that made many of the headlines.
To me, it was very noticeable that every time you entered the main auditorium you would not only see a panel of world-leading experts on the stage, but also an audience of Europe’s real estate elite listening intently. This achievement is a credit to Simon Clark and his Programme Committee for finding truly engaging and thought provoking speakers.
There are many people to thank for the success of this year’s conference. Our gratitude goes to Gerard Groener for chairing the conference, as well as to Scott Malkin, Chair of ULI Europe, and all of his fellow Trustees who were generous with their time, resources and knowledge. We would also like to thank our sponsors ECE, AEW Europe, CBRE Global Investors, Linklaters, AREA Property Partners, PBB, KPF, Lutron, STAM Europe, Tishman Speyer and Union Investment for their support. Most of all we would like to thank our members whose participation in this year’s conference made it such a success.
We look forward to seeing you all at National Council events over the forthcoming months as well as at MIPIM in March. We will soon be announcing the theme of this year’s Trends Conference, which will take place in London during June, and as a member you will be given the opportunity to book your place first. We also hope that many of you will take advantage of ULI’s genuinely global reach and join us for the Spring Meeting in San Diego in May and in Shanghai for the ULI Asia Pacific Summit in June.