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American Dream coming true at big Vegas convention

REConThumbnailBy Holly Dutton
in Las Vegas

American Dream mall developers, Triple Five, chose the annual ICSC convention in Vegas this week to announce they have signed two major department stores and added more store space to meet demand from retailers.

Paul Ghermezian, COO of Triple Five, said that leasing at the $2 billion shopping center in New Jersey’s the Meadowlands is going “very brisklyˮ and the mall is on schedule to open in the fall of 2016

The mall developer is part of  the New York City real estate exodus to Las Vegas for the annual ICSC RECon.

Latest American Dream rendering
Latest American Dream rendering

The Las Vegas Convention Center announced that attendance hit 33,000, topping last year’s number of 32,000 another milestone for the industry, which saw attendance plummet in the years following the crash.

The mood was markedly upbeat, and despite the inevitable swollen feet and sleep deprivation, most brokers Real Estate Weekly talked to happily reported they were booked back-to-back Monday and even Tuesday with meetings.

Joanne Podell of Cushman and Wakefield said she was pleasantly surprised at how busy the conference is.

“There’s so much enthusiasm,ˮ she said. “Last year, everyone was saying ‘I think it’s okay,’ this year everyone is saying it IS okay.ˮ

Hal Shapiro, a managing director at Winick, said the energy of the conference is good this year and he has moved some of his deals forward on the convention center floor. He emphasized that face time is the real draw for ICSC.

“Face-to-face is the good thing about ICSC,ˮ he said. “It’s always more productive to do things face-to-face than email.ˮ

ED HOGAN
ED HOGAN

Brookfield Properties’ national director of leasing Ed Hogan said the attendance and vibe of the conference is a “thermometerˮ for the upcoming year. “The show always sets the tone,ˮ he said.

Brookfield Place just has a handful of spaces left and Hogan expects to have everything signed by the end of the summer.

He was busy meeting with retailers and getting feedback for the company’s next major project — Manhattan West near the Hudson Yards. The company isn’t signing tenants just yet, but will use feedback it gets here in Vegas to help finalize plans for the project, which will have 200,000 s/f of retail.

“It’s going to be the most densely built neighborhood in New York City,ˮ said Hogan of the area around Hudson Yards. “And retailers like density.ˮ

American Dream is one of the projects that has been most promoted at the conference, with ubiquitous mobile ads being driven around the Las Vegas Strip and the Convention Center, along with Hudson Yards, which has giant digital ads in the convention center lobby.

Paul Ghermezian, COO of family-owned development firm Triple Five, which is revitalizing the beleagured old Zanadu project in the Meadowlands into the American Dream mega mall, said the company has executed deals with two luxury department stores for the project, though he wouldn’t reveal which ones.

Don Ghermezian and Paul Ghermezian of Triple Five
Don Ghermezian and Paul Ghermezian of Triple Five

Ghermezian added that leasing is going “very brisklyˮ and the demand for retail space is so high at the mall that the project added more retail space.

Ghermezian, who has been attending ICSC in Vegas with his family since he was a kid, said the name and reputation of the former “Xanaduˮ is long gone — he avoids even using the term. “I keep a swear jar in my office for anyone who uses that word,ˮ he laughed.

At night, the party scene once again was the place to see and be seen. SCG Retail drew thousands at the Four Seasons Sunday night, while Massey Knakal held a more intimate fete at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole at Mandalay Bay the same night.

Newmark Grubb Knight Frank held its annual bash at Marquee at the Cosmopolitan Monday night, while Cushman and Wakefield and the the NY Developers poolside parties at The Four Season and The Bellagio, respectively, were hot tickets as well.

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