If your focus is on retail real estate, your work, over the past months, weeks and days, most likely has been centered on a four-letter acronym: ICSC.
ICSC is the common synecdoche for the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon dealmaking convention in Las Vegas, to be held this year from May 22 to May 25. There’s a strong possibility that the preparation and groundwork laid during those few days will impact our retail market here in Dallas-Fort Worth for years to come.
ICSC is attended by approximately 35,000 retail real estate industry professionals from across the country and around the world. Long before concepts like In-N-Out, Trader Joe’s, and numerous others entered our markets, retail leasing professionals were talking to them in Vegas about the benefits of Texas locations.
Like many firms that have experience attending ICSC, we’ve learned that one key to success at the show is the team approach. This means leveraging your contact and meeting information and always making sure you are constantly updating it, so a when a team member in, say, Houston is looking for a fast-casual concept to fill an endcap, he or she has the opportunity to sit in on a meeting with an expanding chain hosted by another office’s tenant rep teams.
Each time we attend ICSC, we learn from what other firms we work with are doing, and they learn from us. It’s a cooperative environment, with everyone focused on what is best for their clients. One valuable lesson is learning to share up-to-the-minute marketwide information on locations, rates, economic changes, demographics, and everything that a retailer or restaurant might want to know about a trade area or a market metro.
In a nutshell, the key to your success at ICSC is to walk into the Las Vegas Convention Center ready to perform and execute, prepared with everything you need to provide value to every existing client and potential client you’ll meet at the show. I’ve seen first-time show attendees who follow this advice more prepared to take advantage of this great environment than long-time show veterans – because they prepared! Everything done before, during and after the show is geared toward ensuring that your valued customers have the most comprehensive information they need to make the best, and the most informed retail real estate decisions.
And believe it or not, in this intense and compressed time frame, it is still not unusual for deals to be closed in Vegas as well. So, somewhat different from the old Vegas tag line, what happens in Vegas at a meeting at ICSC more often than not results in a great new shopping or dining options for our communities back home.
Bob Young is executive managing director of The Weitzman Group. Contact him at [email protected].