ICSC: RECon exhibitors gear up for industry’s biggest event
Real estate developers and brokers exhibiting at RECon 2018, which runs May 20–23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, are prepping for meetings and events scheduled from early morning to late evening. All are geared toward making deals, beginning or enhancing relationships and gleaning insight about industry trends and challenges. Several exhibitors say that if their appointment calendars are not yet at capacity, they will be soon.
G. Joseph Cosenza, vice chairman of the Oak Brook, Ill.–based Inland Real Estate Group of Cos. and president of Inland Real Estate Acquisitions, says his calendar is booked solid with appointments and with parties in the evenings. Well over 100 people affiliated with the company are at RECon this year, making that firm among the meeting’s largest contingents.
As in past years, among Inland’s goals is to find properties to acquire, and the group is coming off a busy 2017 of scooping up nearly 60 grocery-anchored shopping centers. “Every year, we can specifically point to RECon as the reason why we bought a certain deal,” Cosenza said. “Usually, there are three or four, and sometimes a broker with a grocery-anchored center might have an apartment complex in his back pocket that we like.”
On Tuesday afternoon the company will be host to a cocktail party at its booth. “The biggest part of RECon is really networking at the cocktail parties,” Cosenza said. “But you don’t want to drink and be stupid by the middle of the night; you want to see people who can do deals.”
InvenTrust Properties hopes to wrap up deals, learn more about retailer expansion plans and trends, and catch up with deal makers it has worked with over the years, says Lance W. Billingsley, InvenTrust’s senior vice president of leasing. This Downers Grove, Ill.–based, nontraded REIT is building a portfolio of grocery-anchored centers in Sun Belt markets where job growth is strong. Last year the company acquired eight properties, totaling nearly 1.7 million square feet.
“RECon is a perfect venue for getting together face to face with our retail partners, many of whom we spend most of the year in contact with via phone or email,” Billingsley said. “Additionally, we always include appointments with retailers new to InvenTrust that don’t currently have a presence in our grocery-anchored centers, but that are expanding in our core markets.”
The appointment calendars of Simon's deal-minded leasing representatives are full, according to a spokesman for the firm. Besides being a place for meetings, the booth houses the Simon marketing innovation group. Simon is currently redeveloping or expanding nearly 30 properties in the U.S., Canada and Asia. In September Simon will open the Denver Premium Outlets Center.
Retail Properties of America has 33 team members here this year. Last year the Oak Brook, Ill.–based company booked some 350 appointments, the majority of which were with retailers. Among other projects, Retail Properties is showcasing the $125 million Circle East redevelopment, in downtown Towson, Md. That project will feature 371 apartments and 240,000 square feet of street-level retail and restaurants, which will begin opening later this year.
Some 15 members from the sales, marketing and executive teams of CREXi are here this year to meet clients and to help raise awareness of the firm’s technology-rich transaction platform, according to CEO Michael DeGiorgio. The Marina del Rey, Calif.–based firm (also known as Commercial Real Estate Exchange), offers a digital marketplace through which brokers can bring together property buyers, sellers and principals and manage the entire sales process online. Since launching in November 2015, CREXi has seen the number of properties listed for sale on its platform skyrocket — from four to upwards of 50,000.
“We are booked solid with meetings, but we also have a team available to meet with walkup traffic and [to] provide live demos,” DeGiorgio said. Cocktail hour at the CREXi booth starts at 2 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.
Nearly 70 brokers and staff of Stan Johnson Co. have come to RECon this year, seeing the event as a prime opportunity to connect with developers, says Harold Briggs, executive managing director of the Tulsa, Okla.–based net-lease brokerage firm. RECon is ideal for building relationships with new contacts that drop by the booth, he says. “Our meeting lineup looks great,” said Briggs. “RECon is usually our biggest conference of the year, and our sales professionals always try to maximize their time with clients.”