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Vegas, Baby

by Jordan Walker

Posted on May 17, 2022

ICSC’s spring event is a rare and valuable opportunity to learn and look ahead to what’s next

Spring is upon us, and as the weather starts to heat up, what better place to be than the desert? Every year thousands of industry professionals make a pilgrimage to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend the ICSC spring convention. This year’s event takes place from Sunday, May 22nd to Tuesday, May 24th.

ICSC Las Vegas is one of those genuinely rare opportunities to engage with your peers around the country both socially and professionally, and perhaps laythe groundwork for future collaboration. Whether it’s hearing about trends in other markets or just talking to clients and competitors about what they are seeing and the challenges they are navigating, ICSC is a unique chance to learn more about what’s happening across the retail and leasing landscape.

The rapid evolution in the restaurant sector is one thing we’ll definitely be looking get more perspective on during our time in Vegas. From a new emphasis on drive-thru service options, to a reduction in interior seating layouts, restaurant tenant priorities are evolving to embrace new post-pandemic footprints and service models.

The increasingly competitive market for premium spaces—and the corresponding softening of secondary spaces—is another storyline we’ll likely be hearing more about on the convention floor. The scarcity of quality space—and the likelihood that scarcity will continue into the foreseeable future—remains a challenge for many retailers. At the same time, supply chain disruptions are showing no signs of easing, and higher prices, increased demand, and unpredictable timelines have combined in ways that impact decision-making and complicate dealmaking for landlords and tenants alike. Brokers and other leasing professionals need to not only be aware of these issues, but to continue to learn more about the dynamics behind them and the solutions available to them and their clients. As educators, negotiators, and professionals entrusted with guiding tenants and landlords across the terrain of an evolving industry landscape, it’s incumbent upon all of us to use unique events like this to deepen our understanding and expand our professional toolkit.

As always, however, one of the most fascinating storylines in Vegas is the conference itself. As the highlight of the annual industry calendar, ICSC’s spring event serves as a kind of pulse check on the retail development and leasing landscape. After years of pandemic disruption, how much of this year’s event will feel like “normal,” and in what ways will it differ? There is obviously no way to tell until we are on the ground in Vegas, but the hope and expectation is that the 2022 event will feel like a return to normalcy and a springboard for a space where there is real and sustained momentum.

Ultimately, however, what makes ICSC Las Vegas special isn’t the real estate, it’s the real relationships—forged and deepened over years of coming together to talk shop with smart and savvy fellow professionals. We’ll be looking to strengthen those ties—and start rewarding new relationships that will hopefully pay personal and professional dividends for many years to come. See you in Vegas!