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Four Things Heard at ICSC


We burned shoe leather at ICSC’s New York National Conference this week, searching for Philly’s next big eats (and where to buy stretch pants when our jeans no longer fit). While there, we visited the Philadelphia Retail Marketing Alliance booth for the latest on Center City.

1) Chestnut West is really tight


We snapped Center City District's Michelle Shannon and Casandra Dominguez. The duo tells us that Chestnut West has filled in (Nordstrom Rack, Allen Edmonds, and Camper, with more following) and rents have risen exponentially. Walnut Street, with a 33.8% jump over the past year, saw the one of the biggest rises in retail rents nationally, according to Colliers. Now tenants who've missed that opportunity are going elsewhere.

2) Stores are needed for children, teens, and Millennials


PIDC's Ivy Olesh and City of Philadelphia's Dawn Summerville say that some of the greatest retail opps are now in Market East and Chestnut East. Market East has big box spaces and spots for entertainment retailers to be near the Convention Center. (Is convention swag not enough entertainment, America?) Chestnut East has the bigger footprints and higher ceilings. Two important demographics: 24,000 kids have been born in and around Center City since 2000, so there's a great need for children and teen retailers; and Philly has two times the average of Millennials, now entering their peak spending years.

3) Here comes more turkey, burgers, and BBQ


One name you'll see more of in Philly, South Jersey, and the Delaware Valley is Bassett's. It has three concepts, which Great American Brokerage's Paul Fetscher is helping to expand: Bassett's Turkey (whose top location is in the airport) will grow by four in 2014; Bassett's Memphis BBQ, which had been in King of Prussia before it was wiped out in the 1,000-year flood, will grow by two; and Bassett's Burgers is under negotiations at Liberty Place and will also grow by two. Paul, by the way, recently ran his 43rd New York Marathon (that's almost as many as his ICSC badge ribbons).

4) More pizza, too


Also sniffing for opportunities in Philly: Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza. We snapped its Sandy Weiss (second from left) with Sabre Real Estate Group's Russell Helbling, Kenny Breslin, and Jayson Siano, whose firm, along with Michael Salove Co's Doug Green, is helping with Anthony's expansion (so far, 43 restaurants throughout the Northeast and Florida, with plans to open eight more; the latest was in Exton and it'll open in Pittsburgh this February).