Day 2: Feeling a Bit More Like Normal

The second day of ICSC RECon 2010 brought with it the crowds we have become accustomed to at this event. Both halls were noticeably more active than they were on Sunday as attendees worked through the meat of their appointment schedules.

Yesterday morning I wondered what I would hear about the investment sales climate. It turned out that I didn't hear a whole lot. The majority of conversations I had revolved around leasing and touched upon many of the same themes I heard on day one. That's partly a function of the people I've met with so far. I think that will change today as I have a few major investment sales brokers on the dance card. I expect to get a clearer view of the investment sales climate and some feedback on the financial climate.

Aside from leasing, the main things I'm hearing is that companies are thinking about development, albeit very cautiously. Projects being talked about will be pursued through a measured approach. They will be centers that will come on line in 2013 or 2014 if they are ultimately pursued. But it means the firms that dumped development pros in recent years may begin to look for that talent again as they prepare to ramp up that side of the business. Today, companies are much more likely to pursue redevelopment opportunities at existing properties rather than ground-up work. Firms that have dealt with expiring loans and gotten their balance sheets in order are shifting their attention to this area. They're evaluating portfolios and identifying opportunities where they can revamp centers.

Typically on RECon's last day the crowd begins to thin considerably after noon and is a virtual ghost town by 2 or 3 in the afternoon. But with the conference shortened this year I wonder if that will remain the case. My schedule definitely reflects the change. I have meetings scheduled right through 5 PM--when the hall is scheduled to close. In fact, I actually will end up meeting with slightly more people today than I did on Monday.

The overall mood remains positive. I tend to think there gets to be a bit of an echo chamber effect at these shows. People go in wanting to be optimistic and once they start reinforcing that mood with each other it starts to build. That's not to say that things aren't legitimately better than they were 12 months ago. I just imagine that there still may be a few more bumps in the road on the way to recovery.

My pace of meetings may make it difficult to get another blog post up until late tonight. So check back then or look for our newsletter tomorrow that will provide a final wrap-up of the conference.

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