What Cities Can Learn from the 2010 ICSC RECON Conference

Posted by Rickey Hayes on June 15, 2010 in Blog | No Comments

Written by
Rickey Hayes
Retail Attractions, LLC

The International Council of Shopping Centers just wrapped up the 2010 RECON Spring Retail Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year’s gathering is the ninth ICSC Spring Conference that I have attended and although the crowds were down from past years, this year’s annual event marked several milestones. The instability of the national economy and the banking industry crisis, among other key factors, brought retail development to a standstill for much of the United States. While the local and regional economies in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas remained mostly stable, retail development has drastically changed directions.

Despite a smaller numbers of attendees, this year’s ICSC conference had some bright spots. Some national “big-box” retailers announced new development plans for 30-40 units. Although this is not near the numbers of new sites that were being developed a few years back, it may indicate that at least the worst may be over and some confidence in the overall retail marketplace may be returning. If anchor tenants begin to do new store and site development it seems logical some junior anchors, some larger restaurant chains, and some quick service restaurants will follow.

In the past, speculative development occurred and large tracts of real estate were tied up by investors. Lending institutions were liberal with loans and less restrictive. Developers sought anchors and hoped the momentum would follow. These days, all retail deals will be tenant driven and financing will be scrutinized at several levels. There is more and more competition between communities for the very limited number of new deals in the marketplace. But there are many reasons to believe that retail deals can still happen in new and existing retail markets, even in smaller cities and in some areas that have not seen any retail growth at all.
To land new retail in your community, you need to be providing the right information. The following strategies should be employed immediately:

  • Provide incentives – set your city apart from the competition
  • Clearly define and verify your trade area
  • Be able to identify and describe the consumers within your trade area
  • Provide current demographics and psychographics to specific retailers you are targeting
  • Realize the retail potential within your community
  • Analyze leakage and target retailers who fill the missing niches in your area
  • Develop a plan to utilize public-private partnerships
  • Review and streamline your city’s development guidelines to help expedite retail deals
  • Provide the actual sites (get in the real estate business)

Retail Attractions, LLC provides our client cities valuable data, insight, and proven strategy to harness their retail potential. Contact us to find out how we can help bring retail development to your community.

Rickey Hayes is the principal of Retail Attractions, LLC, a firm dedicated to helping cities and developers successfully find retail sites, close deals and improve the quality of life for our client cities.

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