Seattle goes to MIPIM 2018

Contributing Author: Chad Gleason, CCIM

It is not often that the State of Washington attends international real estate conferences, but with the incredible growth of the Greater Seattle Area and growing interest from international investors, Washington State made its debut at MIPIM 2018.  MIPIM (Le Marché International des Professionnels de l’immobilier) is an international property, real estate development and investment event hosted annually in Cannes, France. From the official press release from MIPIM, there were over 26,000 real estate professionals, many city and political leaders, with well over 4,500 investors from over 100 countries, who came together for the 4-day event at the Palais des Festival, Cannes. They came to see, share and network with what the world has to offer in real estate investment and development.

As the 2018 President for the Washington State Association of Commercial Realtors (WSCAR), I was asked to attend MIPIM and represent the commercial opportunities that Seattle has to offer.

Charged with the task of gauging foreign investment interest and the interest of international companies seeking presence in to the US, I left Seattle with optimism and with the support and videos sponsored by Washington State Realtors and the City of Seattle.

Promotion was easy!  Seattle, Bellevue and Spokane have become global powerhouses in the technology industry with headquarters to Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing and retailers such as Starbucks, Nordstrom and REI.  Seattle is now recognized by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as the number one city in the US.  Population growth in Seattle is now twice the national average, home prices are at 123% of previous peaks, and a young educated population with 17% graduate/professional and 37% undergraduate/bachelors degrees, are pushing “Cloud City” activity higher and higher.

These large conferences and project shows host motivated participants who are eager to find you and you have to get out to find them, and I did just that!  Investors found us at the USA Pavilion, and we found them at the many impressively designed exhibits, some even dedicated to promoting just one city: London, Paris, Warsaw, Istanbul, Munich, Helsinki and so many more. Others chose a country presence, Invest in Great Britain, Invest in Italy, Russia, Dubai, Czech Republic, with representatives that could converse with you in four to five languages about architecture, current urban development, investments, and surprisingly open minded to hear what Seattle had to offer.  The commercial real estate technology options and tools were everywhere, with international technology companies boasting of their new and future upgrades to their platforms such as RealAtom, Real Capital Analytics, Preqin and many more.  Investors from all over the world wanted to know more about Seattle and Bellevue opportunities.  They also asked about secondary options like Tacoma and Everett for office and industrial investments. The Tri-Cities were noted as an interesting investment option for their wine and agricultural areas.  I found myself entertaining the never-ending question: “Do you have a contact at…(one of our many giant tech companies)?  I would like to have the opportunity to show them our latest technology.”  These many-time participants at MIPIM knew about Seattle in great detail and recognized us as a growing opportunity city.

Fueled by this international interest in Seattle, I am excited to share with colleagues, building owners and tenants about MIPIM and the many opportunities on how to expand how the world looks at our area and what it can offer. We are city of innovation with a lifestyle and culture that is supported by our outdoor activities only a short trip away in every direction from Seattle, a growing metropolitan center.  We are exploring how we can reach more people and bring more value to this international event, and become a longtime participant at MIPIM.  Would I go again? Absolutely!  People and companies are watching and want more from us. The Emerald City is shining brighter and brighter and the world has noticed!

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Chad Gleason, CCIM, is the Executive Managing Director at SVN | Raven Commercial Real Estate Advisors serving the Seattle Metro Area and a member of the SVN Shared Value Network.  Chad specializes in Corporate Real Estate Services. SVNRaven.com 206 259–5801 [email protected]