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|Not everything that happens in Vegas stays there. Brown Rudnick's Tom Phillips, a real estate attorney specializing in retail, and state director of ICSC Massachusetts, brought back tales of what went on at the recent conference. He says there was a ?buzz in the room? unlike last year's meeting of the ?walking dead,? filled with fear. Historically, it's been a leasing confab and Tom says people were ?in conversations, making deals,? although Class A rents are still down maybe 25% to 30%. What's still challenging: filling up centers built in the last year or two with a critical mass and getting new development started. He says ?it's chicken and egg. If you get tenant A, you get tenant B to meet financing covenants.?|
|Tom, with partner Paul Laudano, says that one bright light was our own Legacy Place, which opened in Dedham last year well tenanted. Tom says, ?It was a constant source of discussion, one of few gems in the industry.? Fast-growing markets like Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Orlando are still suffering from overbuilding. The industry was encouraged by some return of non-discretionary consumer spending, along with signs that unemployment isn't getting worse. Tom sensed an overriding belief that we won't return to the spending levels of ?07, but the fear of a continued tailspin is gone. ?There was a feeling that we may have hit bottom.?|