International Council of Shopping Centers New England Conference and Deal Making
ICSC hosted the New England Conference and Deal Making event at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center last week, from July 16-18. Given the summer timing of the conference, attendance appeared light at times, but conference attendees reported busy schedules and productive meetings. A number of attendees mentioned that, while they had not attended this conference in recent years, they were excited about the opportunities in the New England market and wanted to further explore their potential. The conference opened with some social activities, including golf, a City of Boston tour, and networking events. These events created positive energy, highlighting new market opportunities and innovative projects in this region, and provided networking opportunities for industry colleagues.
The second day of the conference was devoted to substantive programming. There was an industry panel on women in real estate as well as a timely presentation on the opportunities presented by vacant anchor boxes. In addition, there were sessions covering technology, capital markets, and the future of retail. The spotlight presentation by Steve Weikal from MIT Center for Real Estate was very well-received with its focus on demographic trends (including millennials) and the growth of technology in the commercial real estate industry. No conference would be complete without a panel that explores the mindset of millennials!
The last day of the conference was dedicated to deal making. Our clients and colleagues reported that the sessions were productive, new projects were introduced and deals were sealed with handshakes! Generally, booths seemed busy with back-to-back appointments. Several people attended the session without specific appointments and concluded the day by reconnecting with longstanding relationships and establishing many new ones. At the "Top of the Hub" party that concluded the conference, there was a big crowd, and optimism about future prospects was clear. While there are many challenges facing our industry, the overall vibe was one of excitement about the changing future of retail and the opportunities available. We anticipate seeing the results of this successful conference in the coming months!