Big Changes Planned for ICSC
Two of ICSC’s biggest regional conferences loom on the horizon—Texas Nov. 4-6 and NYC Dec. 7-8; and look out for changes that should make these events even bigger. For NYC, a new venue, the Javits Convention Center, allowed all the exhibitors to be centrally located, ICSC’s Jesse Tron tells us. This will be the second year for the venue. The Texas con is one of nine regional conferences that will benefit from inviting new retailers to exhibit for free. Jesse says they must be new to ICSC cons (among other things), but the idea is to get more retailers—and the right people within those companies—to come and meet with ICSC members.
Jesse says the invitation benefits smaller retailers who are looking to expand regionally and even nationally, but may not participate because the cost is prohibitive for them. Jesse says the new program is being monitored to see how successful it is, but said the San Diego con went really well (it was one of the nine to offer free exhibit space to retailers). Moving the NYC con to the Javits (pictured) was a home run for ICSC, Jesse says. Before, the show was spread across three venues. Now, that space is all on a contiguous floor in a world-class location.
About 10,000 attendees participated in the 2014 show, and Jesse anticipates growth for this year’s con. These regional conventions are taking on national flair and for NYC, it is moving internationally like Las Vegas. New York is a convenient location for people from Europe to come and for national retailers and companies, as well. Pictured is the 2014 NY booth for Dallas-based The Weitzman Group/Cencor Realty Services.
At the Western ICSC con in San Diego a few weeks back, owners, users and investors were coming from all over the US to attend, says Bob Young, managing director for The Weitzman Group. These conventions are drawing more than just regional crowds, Bob tells us. Waiving the fees for retailers to attend the con had phenomenal effects, says Bob (left, with The Howard Hughes Corp president Grant Herlitz at ICSC Las Vegas in May). In 2014, the con had 115 retailers register. With the new policy in place in 2015, there were 350. Bob is looking forward to the Texas con with the same policy. Across the country, Bob says retail real estate is picking up. The West and Southwest are seeing new retail development that hasn’t been seen in years; many regions, like Texas, are well into the game, but it may just be in the first inning in the Midwest. The activity is up and the vibes were good at the recent ICSC cons in San Diego and Chicago, Bob tells us.