Once again, retail real estate professionals are gearing up for the largest show in their business, and as host, the ICSC’s cup is running over.
The Leasing Mall for the annual RECon show in Las Vegas sold out completely months ago with more than 1,100 registered companies, and the Marketplace will be similarly packed with vendors and product service providers.
The ICSC expects about 36,000 delegates to attend this year’s show, an increase of about 2.7 percent from last year. SPREE RECon, the annual conference for cart, kiosk and specialty retail leasing professionals, will be integrated into this year’s conference again. The ICSC brought the show under its umbrella in 2015.
The 2016 RECon’s format will include some innovations. When attendees walk into the grand lobby of the convention center they’ll encounter the Technology Lab, an exhibit of technology start-ups whose products and other developments will impact the commercial real estate industry. That should tie in with a perennial topic in the retailing industry: the impact of technology and e-commerce on physical stores.
“There is a pretty robust sense of optimism,” says Jesse Tron, a spokesman for ICSC. “When you have more than 36,000 people coming together, coming out of the recession, their main purpose is to do business and to make deals.”
Las year, an additional 3,000 to 4,000 people who may not have officially registered for RECon booked meetings away from the convention center, a trend that will likely repeat itself in 2016.
Colliers International, a commercial real estate services firm headquartered in New York City, will be among the dealmakers on the show floor. At press time, the company had close to 700 meetings booked, with its booth approximately 200 square feet larger than the space it occupied last year, according to Anjee Solanki, the national director of retail services for Colliers International. The company also booked two presidential suites where it has scheduled meetings with clients for portfolio reviews and strategies for national rollouts.
“Colliers has close to 300 registered professionals [attending RECON],” including associates from offices in Australia, Canada, Dubai and Mexico, Solanki says.
It will also be one of the firms that will showcase how technology is now its business. It will host a two- and a half-hour national kick-off meeting, where some technology specialists will attend and showcase their latest advancements.
Cross-border opportunities will be at the top of mind for many of the professionals at the show, including U.S.-based retailers looking for expansion opportunities abroad and overseas operators doing the same in the United States, according to Colliers’ representatives.
The net lease market, where cap rates seem to be tightening all the time, will be another topic on the minds of delegates this year, including VEREIT, the real estate services firm headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz.
According to Glenn Rufrano, CEO of VEREIT, “Many buyers of our larger properties have been foreign investors and pension funds. Private buyers and 1031 exchange investors have been active on smaller assets as they look for yield.”
VEREIT has booked more than 80 meetings with national tenants, and plans to hold its sixth annual leasing symposium, where it expects to meet with more than 100 real estate brokers who represent the firm in local markets.