The International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon event is one of the highlights of the industry calendar.From May 22 through May 25, over 36,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors made their way to Las Vegas, Nevada for the industry showcase at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Westgate Las Vegas Hotel.
In addition to the opportunity to hobnob with industry bigwigs, RECon provides an outstanding opportunity to connect with industry pros who are always on the lookout for a chance to make a deal. Besides the great networking opportunities, RECon offers a wealth of information via educational sessions, and offers a peek at the latest services and products that will impact the industry, both of which can be worth the price of admission alone.
This year’s RECon offered all of the above and much more, and those in attendance walked away with a number of takeaways on where things are headed in the industry for the coming year. One overriding theme seems to be a bit of hesitance on the part of dealmakers, not to the point that business is at a standstill, but rather a slight apprehension due to some of the negative factors in the current economic climate. Problems that range from major bankruptcies to softer than expected sales are causing some to take a wait-and-see approach, all the while keeping their eyes open for signs of a turn or the next big deal.
On the new development front, things are a bit on the quiet side, but the ones that are popping up – especially in the current hotbed of Florida – are of the transformative, game-changing variety. Some of the new developments in the works for the Sunshine State that will make a serious impact include the Lake Nona Town Center in Orlando, which strives to create somewhat of a town center environment, and a mixed-use project in Miami from Swire Properties known as Brickell City Centre.
Speaking of mixed-use, that’s become somewhat of a buzzword in the shopping center development world.
“Last year’s theme at RECon was outlet centers. This year it’s mixed-use,” said Jeff Green, president and CEO of Jeff Green Partners.
“It’s about the highest and best use of real estate,” added Jerry Hoffman, president and CEO of Hoffman Strategy Group.
Sounds like the increased interest in mixed-use development will not be dying down anytime soon, and it would be wise for developers to keep that in their playbook as a way to make some things happen. Overall, RECon 2016 appeared to be a smashing success. The 2017 edition has a tough act to follow, but the folks at ICSC always put on such a stellar event that it’s hard not to expect them to have little trouble topping it.