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The 2019 ICSC New York Deal Making Conference and The Ever-Evolving Retail Scene

The ICSC New York Deal Making Conference (“NYDM”) was held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center from December 10-12 and had more than 9,600 registered attendees.

This year, ICSC offered much more content than at prior NYDM conferences.  Over the course of 3 days, there were a total of 62 sessions with 173 speakers. 

On Professional Development Day, the first day of NYDM, fifteen intensive sessions were held.  Of those fifteen sessions, eleven were standing room only.  The first day of NYDM also included behind the scenes tours of three exciting retail projects that have recently opened in the NY Metro area: Hudson Yards, American Dream, and Empire Outlets.  Eighty people participated in those tours and the feedback was very positive.

The showroom floor opened on Wednesday, the second day of the conference.  This year, ICSC moved all of the programming to the show room floor with five stages:  MainStage; Tech Connect; Health & Wellness; Retail in Focus; and Food and Fun. The increased programming and different stages gave conference attendees numerous opportunities to learn about a plethora of topics and trends in the retail industry.  The content this year was varied and exciting.  An overarching theme was the ever-evolving retail scene, with discussions on redevelopment and reimagination, the interplay between technology and retail, direct to consumer brands, expansion into foreign markets, the increase of health and wellness uses, and sustainability. This content was rounded out with excellent presentations on mixed use, evolution of retail through resale and rental, public/private partnerships, how to prepare for 5G, and how to cultivate a culture of innovation.

Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC, moderated a keynote panel consisting Tal Zvi Nathanel, CEO & Founder of Showfileds, and Zak Normandin, Founder & CEO of Iris Nova.  The panelists spoke about the future of experiential retail, and gave an excellent overview of types of experiences that provide consumers with a sense of community, discovery and convenience.  In addition, it was very interesting hearing the panelists’ visions in founding their respective companies and where they see their companies’ growth potential.

The show drew a lively and enthusiastic crowd and provided abundant opportunities for networking, relationship building, deal making, and learning about our ever-evolving industry.  In addition to the usual smiles, handshakes and occasional hugs when long time industry friends run into each other on the showroom floor, we observed serious discussions, many of which resulted in actual deals.  We know this because almost immediately after NYDM ended, our lawyers started receiving calls from our clients with new deals that were made at NYDM.  Many of these deals had to get started immediately and completed quickly.  

On a personal note, I (David) feel honored to have been the Chair of the Program Committee for this year’s NYDM.  I would like to thank Jamie Bourbeau, who was co-chair of this year’s Program Committee and will be chair of next year’s Program Committee. I would also like to thank Jackie Fabrizio, Stan Glantz, Jason Richter, Mary Rottler, Mike Seaman, Dovid Spector, Chris Littrell, and Rob Wingrave, all of whom served on the Program Committee and worked very hard to make NYDM a success.

Related topics: Real Estate, Retail, Technology