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Five Key Takeaways From the 2022 SIOR International European Conference

By: Paul McDowell, SIOR

The 3rd SIOR International European Conference took place from July 13-15 in Dublin, with over 340 delegates and guests from across Europe, the Middle-East, Asia, the US and Canada.

With an exceptional line-up of keynote speakers and expert panellists, the three-day conference explored key industry themes and predictions for future trends. Here are the top five takeaways that will influence and drive the real estate industry:

  1. The economy is in a volatile state; we need to stay alert and agile. Welcoming and embracing different perspectives will be critical in navigating the challenging times ahead. Well known economist David McWilliams warned against “group think,” where we surround ourselves with people who think like we do, curtailing new ideas and evolution.
  2. Major cost and compliance challenges will face older office stock in terms of sustainability, ESG, and net zero targets. Action is needed before buildings become obsolete and damage investment portfolios. We also have a responsibility to play our part in addressing the climate crisis—humans use 59 kWh per person per day, a significant proportion in our built environment, so the office sector has a key role to play.
  3. The rise in the adoption of property technology (PropTech) alongside major technological advances will have a significant impact on the real estate market. Tools such as digital twins will inform more sustainable development and refurbishment, and real and virtual worlds will increasingly co-exist. The metaverse will open new opportunities for marketing, advertising, and real estate investment. In this context, “digital rights” for buildings will be needed soon to safeguard virtual assets.
  4. The three-day week in the office is here to stay, so we need to consider how we repurpose our empty office buildings to provide much-needed homes and bring life back into our cities. Plus, we need to make our workplaces—indeed all types of buildings—more sustainable and accessible.
  5. Food is now recognized as a major cause of climate change, contributing as much as 25-30% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of food production facilities being treated as industrial and logistics, there is a need for a new dedicated asset class, one which recognizes the specific resource and operational needs of the food industry and allows property investment to align with them. Many of our food systems and infrastructure are outdated and inefficient, so action is certainly needed. A pioneer in this area is TSL, which has launched SmartParc, the UK’s first dedicated food business park with shared services.

These are just five of the key topics examined at the conference, but the inspirational stories shared by the keynotes was unmatched. Notably, Paul McNeive shared his personal story of overcoming adversity as well as his learnings, urging us to visualize our end-goal and take one step at a time, every day, however small.

There was also the opportunity to network, debate, and engage in conversation with other delegates from across the globe—the SIOR International European Conference is as much about the connections created and relationships forged as the educational benefits provided by the conference program.

Last but not least, thanks to the efforts of SIOR members and conference attendees, a cycle and golf tournament raised about €40,000 EUR ($40K USD) for the Ukraine Appeal and the SIOR Foundation, for young Ukrainians interested in a career in property.

Overall, it was another brilliant SIOR International European Conference, and we look forward to the ones to come.

Irishman David McWilliams couldn't resist teasing the Brits about the state of their Kingdom, but more importantly enlightened delegates on “Navigating an Uncertain World."

Paul McNeive had the audience in laughs and tears as he described his 40-year career following the loss of his legs when he was 20 years old.

James R. Scott bamboozled members on virtual real estate and the Metaverse. AR glasses were not provided!

Paul Danks, SIOR, moderated a panel on The Future of the Workplace.



Delegates were fortunate enough to receive personalized, signed copies of “Small Steps to Success,” Paul McNeive’s bestseller.


Laurence McCabe, SIOR, graciously accepts his award for loyalty and support as the chapter’s longest serving member, presented by Paul McDowell, SIOR.

“There is no Planet B” is the conclusion to the increasing concerns, challenges, and opportunities facing humanity today. Professor Mike Berners-Lee led us through the topic.

Thank you to TSL for making the gala evening at Christchurch Cathedral a success!


Media Contact
Alexis Fermanis SIOR Director of Communications
Paul McDowell, SIOR
Paul McDowell, SIOR

Paul McDowell, SIOR, is past-president of the SIOR European Chapter, chairman of the conference committee and principal at Paul McDowell Ltd. in Dublin, Ireland, providing investment consulting for cross-border transactions. Contact him at paul@pmcdltd.ie.