UPDATED, Feb. 28, 2:17 p.m.: Fears of the rapidly spreading coronavirus have caused some of the world’s most prominent commercial real estate companies to pull out of a major commercial real estate conference in Cannes, France. On Friday, a 23-year-old woman tested positive for the virus in the resort town — the first case reported there — though organizers said the four-day show would go on, according to the website Building.
Blackstone Group, Cushman & Wakefield, Savills, Knight Frank, PGIM Real Estate and other big firms will not be sending representatives to the MIPIM property conference.
“With the rapidly increasing number of cases of coronavirus in Europe and the elevated industry-wide concern around attendance at large multi-national events, we have decided to withdraw from MIPIM,” Cushman said in a statement to Property Week.
MIPIM, slated to begin March 10, is one of the most anticipated annual conferences on the real estate circuit and typically attracts some of the biggest commercial players. But growing fears of the coronavirus — which has wreaked havoc on the financial markets, hobbled trade and even delayed the sale of a major tower in San Francisco — have put a damper on this year’s event.
“We understand and respect the concerns of clients who have decided to cancel their attendance,” a spokesperson for MIPIM said in a statement. “In the rapidly evolving environment, we are monitoring developments continually. The health and safety of our clients and staff is our priority.” The conference says on its website that it expects close to 27,000 participants.
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of “community spread” of COVID-19 in the U.S., in Solano County, northeast of San Francisco.
With major clusters of coronavirus cases developing in Italy, Iran and South Korea, some U.S. real estate firms have also started to feel an impact. Hotels and malls in particular are facing the consequences of a decline in tourism. [Property Week] — TRD Staff
This version of the article reflects the first case of coronavirus reported in Cannes.