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Mission markets waterfront to international investors at France conference

Mayor and 3 city staffers attend MIPIM in Cannes, develop leads for waterfront revitalization

Mission presented its waterfront plan to the world at a conference in France earlier this month.

Four city representatives attended the MIPIM real estate investment conference in Cannes from March 12 to 15 and promoted Mission’s Waterfront Revitalization Master Plan to potential investors.

The city was awarded sponsorship to attend the 2024 conference by the Economic Development Association of Canada in October because of the work on the waterfront revitalization project.

Mayor Paul Horn, communications manager Taryn Hubbard, economic development director Stacey Crawford and development services director Dan Sommer attended the conference. Horn was forced to leave the trip early due to a death in the family.

Over 26,000 attended the four-day conference. Mission had a booth, as well as meetings with international investors and leaders.

“[The trip] was specifically about marketing the waterfront and any learning we took home with us was a nice secondary benefit. We went there explicitly to try and move forward on marketing the lands behind the project and to attract significant investment and master development,” Horn said.

According to the mayor, a successful trip would be measured based on the number of leads developed. Another Canadian city that previously attended came back with roughly four solid leads, Horn says.

“We had 10 [leads] that we felt were worth following up and four that we felt were particularly worth following up, so we came out of it with an equivalent number to that previous Canadian attendee,” he said.

The leads largely consist of investors looking for opportunities. Moving forward, the city would act as a facilitator for investors to connect with private landowners, rather than involvement in direct negotiations.

The Mission team also had an opportunity to speak with industrial commercial realty firms that have a global presence.

At a leaders summit, Horn met with the former prime minister of Finland, the mayor of Dusseldorf, Germany, the deputy mayor of Stockholm, among other European leaders.

Hubbard says there was a lot of traffic at Mission’s booth, interest in investing in Mission, and conversation about what that looks like.

“We’re a community of 43,000 approximately [and] the project that we were talking about was on par with some of the other projects that were going on around the world. To me, that was such an important ‘aha’ moment,” Hubbard said.

According to Hubbard and Horn, having core leadership from the city available to speak about the waterfront impressed investors. The mayor’s presence also allowed access to leadership summits that otherwise wouldn’t have been available.

In November, council carried a motion 5-1 to send staff to Cannes for the conference with Coun. Ken Herar opposed and Coun. Carol Hamilton absent. The reallocation of an estimated $15,000 from the Waterfront Revitalization budget was approved to fund the related travel and accommodation expenses for MIPIM.

With the waterfront plan, Horn says the city is ready to move to the next level of having willing landowners look to sell parcels or market their property to investors.

“One thing that became apparent from this is we should be doing more at the waterfront now and really letting people experience why the waterfront is worthwhile – and being able to tell the story to investors,” Horn said.

“This is a place that’s near and dear to our community. We’ve kind of forgotten it since the era of my childhood, so I think it’s important for it to come back into our day-to-day lives in some way.”

Up next for the waterfront is a landowners and investors forum through the economic development department this summer. The city is hoping to hold the event at the waterfront in some of the existing businesses.

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Dillon White

About the Author: Dillon White

I joined the Mission Record in November of 2022 after moving to B.C. from Nova Scotia earlier in the year.
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