Omni-channel, deal-making high on the agenda for RECon 2017

Technology, the fast-changing omni-channel landscape and deal-making will be high on the agenda this year as the retail real estate industry gathers in Las Vegas for ICSC’s RECon 2017.

“RECon is an extremely important event for us, particularly on the deal-making side — leasing and acquisitions,” said Thomas P. McGuinness, president and CEO of Oak Brook, Ill.–based InvenTrust Properties Corp.

“Operationally, we begin preparing for ICSC RECon right after the New York show in December, organizing the booth setup, finalizing advertising messaging and communications, and strategizing goals for the different functional departments that attend.”

A contingent of 25 InvenTrust staffers will attend the show, including the executive management, leasing and transaction teams.

Developer The Woodmont Co. is focused on value-added opportunities for its existing properties. The Fort Worth, Texas–based firm is bringing 25 team members to the show to find tenants and partners, mostly for redevelopments, but also for a few ground-up developments in markets with high barriers to entry, says Grant Gary, the firm’s president of brokerage services.

Boston-based brokerage firm SVN is bringing nearly 100 advisers and expects to see a high volume of deals, thanks in part to an increasing number of expanding food-service tenants. New York City–based RKF, meanwhile, is bringing 71 brokers, more than it has brought in any previous year.

Chicago-based JLL is anticipating a strong volume of business at RECon 2017. The firm is bringing about 300 retail experts from across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia and says it expects to have upwards of 7,500 meetings during the three-day conference.

Gregory Maloney, CRX, CSM, the firm’s chief executive officer of Americas retail, says JLL will be meeting with representatives from department stores as well as big-box, in-line and value retailers. JLL will also be facilitating the rollouts of new concepts and advising owners about redevelopment and disposition opportunities.

The firm predicts an uptick in restaurant and development-based business over the next 18 months and is planning accordingly.

Technology and its impact on the bottom line will be another important topic at the show, ICSC members say.

“We are receiving more and more requests for meetings with various technology firms that service the shopping center industry,” said Whitney Livingston, senior vice president of management services at Madison Marquette.

As both an owner and a manager, Washington, D.C.–based Madison Marquette will be especially busy at RECon, says Robyn H. Marano, the firm’s vice president of marketing. “In addition to our leasing team representing both owned and managed assets, their attendance is complemented by our in-house capital-raising and investment-management expertise. Our goals are deal making, client relations and new business.”

Madison Marquette is promoting six ground-up developments and four comprehensive redevelopments at the show this year.

“We are using a new approach in business-to-business marketing, as leasing is no longer armed with just fact sheets and site plans,” Marano said. “This year our leasing teams are armed with virtual-reality experiences.”

Another company embracing new technology is Los Angeles–based developer GPI Cos. “Our firm will be discussing the evolution of e-commerce and how it is being integrated with bricks-and-mortar retailing,” said T.R. Gregory, the company’s senior vice president of development.

“We want to see what opportunities exist for repurposing certain asset classes. We want to understand what works well, while finding ways to make the shopping experience relevant and exciting.”

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