MAPIC 2023 Unveils the Future of Cities and Retail

Amidst the backdrop of MAPIC 2023, an array of urban renewal initiatives were prominently showcased, offering a glimpse into the evolving landscape of global cities. From the rejuvenation efforts in London, Lisbon, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Milan to the emergence of transformative projects from regions like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, India, Iraq, and Kyrgyzstan, the event served as a melting pot of innovative urban regeneration concepts.

While European ventures commanded a significant presence, the inclusion of international projects underscored the event’s global appeal and influence. Notably, a concerted emphasis on sustainability permeated the proceedings, symbolized by the debut of the Sustainability Lab—a dedicated space showcasing sustainable technological solutions tailored to the retail real estate sector.

Discussions revolving around sustainability principles reverberated throughout the event, underscoring the industry’s commitment to a greener future.

Leading titans of the real estate domain, such as Unibail Rodamco Westfield, Klépierre, and Apsys, were among the illustrious attendees, joined by a diverse array of exhibitors including Cenomi, Carmila, Nhood, Ingka, Eurocommercial, Mabanee, and ECE, among others.

Over the course of three dynamic days, more than 1,500 retail and leisure brands converged alongside 4,500 participants, collectively engaging in high-level networking, productive meetings, and insightful conferences, all with a shared vision of fostering sustainable growth and development in the years ahead.

At this year’s MAPIC, the retail real estate industry witnessed a flurry of groundbreaking projects and significant deals that captured the attention of attendees. Among the highlights was the Retail in the City Summit, where Nhood unveiled its highly anticipated Entrecampos project set to transform the urban landscape of Lisbon. This innovative initiative promises to redefine the city’s retail scene, marking a significant milestone in urban development.

Another noteworthy debut was the unveiling of Tomorrowland Leisure’s revolutionary aqua-park concept, showcasing an entirely new approach to leisure and entertainment powered by cutting-edge solar energy solutions. This pioneering venture, backed by Tomorrowland Music Festival, represents a bold step towards sustainable and eco-friendly recreational spaces, setting a new standard for the industry.

The week commenced with the exciting news of Savills’ acquisition of Nash Bond, a prominent retail and leisure advisory firm. This strategic move underscores Savills’ commitment to enhancing its global footprint and bolstering its comprehensive suite of services, further solidifying its position as a leading player in the market.

Additionally, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield made waves with the announcement of its partnership with Digeiz, signaling a significant advancement in leveraging AI technology within the retail sector. This collaboration aims to integrate Digeiz’s cutting-edge AI solutions across 24 premier European real estate centers, paving the way for enhanced efficiency and innovation in retail operations.

These announcements underscore MAPIC’s pivotal role as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration within the retail real estate landscape, showcasing the industry’s ongoing evolution and commitment to driving positive change.

Exploring Growth and Responsibility: Insights from Industry Leaders

The week at MAPIC commenced with a thought-provoking discussion led by prominent figures in the property sector, centered around fostering responsible growth in the industry. Cindy Andersen, Managing Director of Ingka Centres, set the tone by articulating the company’s vision of transforming shopping centers into vibrant community hubs. She emphasized the importance of aligning purpose with profit, describing it as a “magical combination” driving Ingka Centres’ initiatives.

Alison Rehill-Erguven, CEO of Cenomi Centers, provided valuable insights into Saudi Arabia’s growth trajectory, highlighting the nation’s ambitious development plans. She announced an upcoming partnership with sustainable energy providers at COP28, underscoring Cenomi’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

Joanna Fisher, CEO of ECE Marketplaces, emphasized the need for reimagining urban spaces to meet evolving consumer needs. She emphasized the significance of forging partnerships and fostering flexibility as essential elements for sustained success in the industry.

In a captivating keynote address, Raymond Cloosterman, CEO of Rituals, shared the brand’s journey to success and its distinctive approach to beauty. He reflected on the challenges of organizational growth and sustainability, highlighting Rituals’ commitment to becoming one of the first cosmetics companies to achieve B-Corp status.

Cloosterman’s outstanding contributions to the industry were recognized as he received the prestigious MAPIC Personality of the Year award, underscoring his significant impact on the retail landscape.

Exploring the Next Wave of Property Projects at MAPIC

Property industry leaders convened at MAPIC to delve into the latest wave of urban regeneration initiatives, celebrating flagship projects like Galataport and Battersea Power Station, which received accolades at the MAPIC Awards. Discussions in the leisure and food sectors delved into the factors driving success for modern restaurant chains and the evolving landscape of leisure concepts, spotlighting innovative ventures such as F1 Arcade and Nikito.

Throughout the event, sustainability emerged as a prevailing theme, with conversations centering on the transformative role of AI in real estate. Sold-out networking sessions, including the Retail in the City and Leisure Summits, facilitated dialogue among key players from leading firms like CBRE, Savills, and Cushman & Wakefield, alongside industry giants such as The Crown Estate and Triple Five.

Presentations showcased groundbreaking projects such as Canopia in Bordeaux by Apsys, Battersea Power Station, and King’s Cross in London, as well as Nhood’s Lisbon Entrecampos venture. These landmark developments underscored the significance of public-private partnerships in shaping future cities, emphasizing resilience, sustainability, and inclusivity as key priorities.

Repurpose with Purpose explored strategies for revitalizing destinations, emphasizing the importance of creating environments that resonate with visitors. Alongside European developers, the exhibition highlighted international projects from Cenomi Centres in Saudi Arabia, Mabanee in Kuwait, Bhutani Infra in India, Ashur Mall in Iraq, and Manas Tower in Kyrgyzstan.

Returning exhibitors, including VIA Outlets, Eurocommercial, and Carmila, joined forces with newcomers like Svicom, showcasing a diverse array of projects that reflect the global evolution of the property landscape. Pavilions representing various European regions further enriched the exhibition, offering insights into emerging trends and opportunities across the continent.

Elevating Destinations through Leisure Experiences

The role of leisure in driving destination appeal took center stage at MAPIC, with insights from industry leaders shedding light on innovative strategies to captivate consumers. Christine Wacker of Netflix unveiled the streaming giant’s foray into location-based entertainment (LBE), showcasing the success of ventures like the Netflix Bites pop-up in Los Angeles.

By leveraging its popular IP, Netflix has transformed live experiences into immersive brand activations, enticing fans with themed merchandise and interactive attractions. Wacker outlined Netflix’s meticulous approach to partnership selection and market research, emphasizing the creation of environments where fans can celebrate their favorite shows. She also offered a sneak peek into Netflix’s latest venture, ‘Floor is Lava,’ bridging the gap between physical and digital experiences.

Making its debut at MAPIC, Tomorrowland unveiled plans for a groundbreaking water park in collaboration with Momentum Leisure. Set to redefine aquatic entertainment, the park promises to be a haven of relaxation and wonder, offering visitors a truly magical leisure experience.

During the Leisure Summit, industry stakeholders explored avenues to further enrich destination offerings. Sandi Danick of American Dream (Triple Five) shared insights into the development of one of North America’s most ambitious leisure destinations, anchored in the principles of entertainment and retail. With a diverse array of attractions, American Dream embodies a commitment to creating memorable experiences that resonate with visitors.

Unveiling the Recipe for F&B Success

As the Big Mamma restaurant group continues its upward trajectory, CEO and co-founder Tigrane Seydoux emphasized the criticality of cultivating an original, unreplicable concept. Seydoux urged F&B brands to embrace boldness and scale ambitiously from inception, asserting that success hinges on delivering exceptional food, affordability, inviting ambiance, and outstanding service.

During the enlightening session on “Good Brands, and Great Brands: What’s the Difference?” Nicholas Shapira, Partnership Director of ITSU, stressed the significance of meticulous attention to detail and flawless execution. Rana Edwards, VP of I Love Poke, championed the necessity of offering high-quality, health-conscious menus to fuel brand expansion.

Christopher Jones, President of SUSHISHOP at Amrest Group, echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the paramount importance of fulfilling brand promises to achieve remarkable performance.

Revolutionizing the Industry through Innovation and Sustainability

At this year’s MAPIC, the critical role of technology and its potential to revolutionize the industry was a central focus. The panel discussion on “Why Everyone Is Talking About AI” explored how artificial intelligence can profoundly impact developers, property owners, and retailers, ranging from assessing the effectiveness of advertising to enhancing visitor conversion rates. AI Digeiz presented a compelling demonstration showcasing how shopping centers can evolve into dynamic media platforms, enabling precise audience measurement akin to digital campaigns.

During an exclusive interview with Chris Igwe, Clement Jeannin, Group Director of Sustainability at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, shed light on the company’s unwavering commitment to its “better places” strategy, aimed at meeting the evolving needs of future consumers and retailers. Jeannin emphasized the imperative for property players and brands to align with consumer expectations regarding brand sustainability and transparency.

Looking ahead, the stage is set for next year’s edition of MAPIC, scheduled to take place from November 26th to 28th, 2024, at the esteemed Palais des Festivals in Cannes.

Jann Confield
Jann Confield
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