The last time we heard from David Simon he was saying the “The new development business is dead for a decade.” Recently, he was interviewed as part of the Wharton Leadership Lecture series and had a much more upbeat message.
"I'm going to bet on the American consumer a bit more than CNBC and the others," Simon said. "I think [retail] will bounce back a little bit faster and harder than most people say."
Nonetheless, in a wide-ranging presentation that covered his career, his Indianapolis-based company's growth into a global behemoth, and his views on both management and the future of retail real estate, Simon made it clear that his industry is facing real challenges, some of which will lead to significant change. "What's going to happen ... with retail real estate is that the strong retail will get stronger," he said, adding that weaker retail will suffer, sooner rather than later. "Where it used to take years for ... a bad mall to go out of business, I think it's going to happen more quickly. For us, we know the winners and losers already. But the time [the losers] are going to be around [will] shorten."