Each May, retail brokers, developers, and tenants make an annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the International Council of Shopping Centers’ deal-making convention. The last three years have not been a lot of fun. Attendance fell to less than half of 2008 levels, but it was the tone and the mood that were the worst part.
Most of the meetings you scheduled, which were comparatively few, were with people complaining about how tough their business had been. The more optimistic meetings were with brokers or developers pushing their new developments. The only problem is, those meetings were repeated over and over again these past three years, with no progress in between.
Well this year, it appears the good mood is back.
Attendance at the 2012 conference—to be held May 20-22 at the Las Vegas Convention Center—will be back up near post-recession levels, and my convention schedule is jam-packed again. I’m having to split my 30-minute meeting slots into 15-minute times. And I’m even having to convince my wife that five cocktail parties and two dinners for three straight nights is not as fun as it sounds!
ICSC’s annual convention has become a great barometer of the retail real estate industry. I’m hopeful that the convention is as fruitful as the pre-event mood indicates.
It will be another great sign that the retail real estate industry is back!