The ICSC Blog

October 13, 2014

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Q&A With US Law Conference Speaker Kevin Shepherd

KevinShepherdTell us about yourself and what you do.
I’m a farm boy from Kansas who now practices commercial real estate law in Baltimore. I handle transactions for pension funds, REITs, and institutional investors (both regionally and nationally), and have the good fortune to work with the top talent in the industry. When not representing my clients, I spend time working through the ABA and other groups domestically and internationally to fend off the federal regulation of the legal profession in the money laundering and terrorist financing realm. It may strike some odd that a real estate lawyer would be involved in this effort, but there have been relentless and aggressive efforts by the federal government to impose anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist obligations on the legal profession, and I have been at the forefront of this effort for the last dozen years. That activity allows me to help the legal profession in a meaningful, tangible manner. In my “spare” time, I like being outdoors playing the role of a gentleman farmer (e.g., clearing brush and mowing meadows) and getting back to my Midwest roots, so to speak.

What will you cover at your 2014 Law Conference General Session 5, “Breaking Bad: The Ethics of Dealing with Challenging Clients,” and what should people expect to learn?
We will be discussing how to manage and deal with difficult clients (is there such a thing? Yikes!). Younger lawyers are sometimes asked to represent difficult clients, such as those who engage in bullying tactics that may lead to ethical dilemmas. We hope to provide practical tips on how to manage these types of clients, ethically and otherwise.

What new technologies are you excited about and why?
I chair our firms’ finance committee, and I have an obsession with technologies that allow me to drill into fee arrangements so that we can better understand fee dynamics. I like to employ quantitative analysis to fee arrangements so that we can measure them from different dimensions. Most eyes glaze over when discussing this topic, but I don’t know how we can respond to client fee demands without a thorough understanding of cost structures and techniques to manage transactions.

What is your favorite social network to use and why?
LinkedIn in simple to use and it allows me to keep in touch with colleagues from around the country. Simple is better—for me.

What is your favorite Business or Personal mobile app to use and why?
I like flightradar24, which allows me to track flights flying over my office in downtown Baltimore. Most of the flights are heading to Europe and the Middle East in the afternoon and evening. OK, I know it’s geeky, but it’s a good app to use while daydreaming out the window. It’s amazing what flies over your head on a daily basis! I often wish I were on one of those flights heading somewhere exciting (or not).

How can people reach out to you on social media?
Please connect with me on LinkedIn so that we can get in touch.

What is your best advice for First Timers and/or Next Gen attendees at the 2014 Law Conference?
Soak it in and engage. Make sure to attend the roundtables and get engaged by asking questions and contributing to the discussion. Participation is the key.

October 10, 2014

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Q&A With US Law Conference Speaker Aubrey Waddell

Aubrey WaddellTell us about yourself and what you do.
I wear a number of hats. I spend my workdays negotiating global real estate outsourcing contracts for JLL, and managing claims that inevitably arise out of those services. I also do a fair amount of compliance and ethics training for our firm. When I’m not working for JLL, I’m a social secretary, chauffeur, fundraiser, tutor, stylist, decorator, and party planner for the Waddell family. I’m fortunate to have work that I enjoy so much.

What will you cover at your 2014 Law Conference General Session 5, “Breaking Bad: The Ethics of Dealing with Challenging Clients,” and what should people expect to learn?
Kevin Shepherd and I will explore the ethical nuances associated with difficult clients. We hope to provide real-world guidance for handling situations where a client might push the legal or ethical bounds of your engagement.

What new technologies are you excited about and why?
I’m impressed by all of the recent advances in sustainability. At JLL, for example, we’re leveraging technology to help minimize the significant impact real estate can have on the environment. It used to be that environmental friendliness was expensive. But now, technology is allowing us to save costs while simultaneously preserving and protecting resources. That’s powerful stuff.

What is your favorite social network to use and why?
I could never choose a single favorite! Facebook is the best for personal networking, LinkedIn is all professional, and Twitter is a mix of both. I can find out what’s happening with friends and family on Facebook, business connections on LinkedIn, and the rest of the world by a quick review of my Twitter feed.

What is your favorite Business or Personal mobile app to use and why?
I’m a shopaholic and a serial renovator. Pinterest is my guilty pleasure.

How can people reach out to you on social media?
LinkedIn is the easiest way to find me, and I hope you will! My twitter handle is @AubreyWaddell, but I’m not an active tweeter.

What is your best advice for First Timers and/or Next Gen attendees at the 2014 Law Conference?
Try to schedule yourself a bit. Review the attendee list before you come, and set up informal meetings with lawyers you’ve worked with previously or with whom you have connections in common. Also, don’t miss the first timers/NextGen reception, where everyone will be looking to make new friends.

October 6, 2014

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America’s Foremost Marketplace

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By Jesse Tron
@JesseTronPR

Without a doubt we are experiencing one of the most profound periods of evolution within our industry since the advent of the first suburban malls in the mid 1950’s. Both technology and the quest for experience have changed the way the consumer shops and so to how the shopping center has adapted to meet those newfound consumer wants and desires. Despite some inflammatory reports to the contrary, both shopping centers and malls are actually thriving.

Our research department recently conducted a comprehensive study that analyzes how shopping centers remain America’s Foremost Marketplace. The report checks the industry’s vital signs (spoiler alert: I’m happy to say that it received a clean bill of health), how retailers and shopping centers have embraced an omni-channel strategy, and the evolution taking place within the industry.

While the report goes into much greater detail, here are a few of the high-level takeaways I found to be most interesting:

  • E-commerce is complementary to brick-and-mortar retail as omni-channel customers tend to shop more frequently (3x) and spend more on average (3.5x) than single-channel shoppers.
  • In-store conversion rates are four times higher than online-only conversion rates.
  • 94% of total retail spending takes place in physical stores.
  • Retailers plan to open more than 40,000 stores over the next 12 months and more than 77,000 over the next 24 months – near a five-year high.

 The full report is available on ICSC’s website.

October 3, 2014

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ICSC Foundation Commemorates 25th Anniversary

ICSC Foundation Annual Report 2013 The ICSC Foundation released its 2013 annual report which looks back at their 25th anniversary year. Highlights include:

 Last year the foundation launched its first-ever Capital Campaign to increase the scope and reach of education and community outreach programs. By the end of 2013 $2.3 million of their $5 million goal had been reached. Ten months later they have doubled their efforts with $4.6 million. Thank you to all donors who have made the campaign a success.

Thanks to loyal supporters and ICSC volunteers the foundation reached many milestones in 2013. They show no signs of slowing down.

 Your name could appear in next year’s annual report. Apply for a John T. Riordan Professional Development Scholarship and be amongst the recipients. Deadline is November 17th.

September 30, 2014

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Retail Gets Its Groove Back: 10 Incisive Insights from the CEO of Shopping Center REIT, ROIC

Interview conducted and condensed by Michael Lagazo

Stuart Tanz, high qualityStuart Tanz, President and CEO of San Diego-based Retail Opportunity Investments Corporation (NASDAQ: ROIC), an excellent dividend growth REIT, shares leadership insights to kick off the ICSC Western Division conference this week.

Q: Were you always interested in shopping centers?

A: Yes. I started my real estate career in the late 1980s, as a one-man operation, developing small shopping centers in Southern California. So I learned the business from the ground up and have been focused in shopping center sector on the West Coast for almost 30 years now.

Q: What are your expectations for the ICSC Western Division conference this year?

A: We expect that it will be a very busy and productive conference. At the national convention in May, there was a lot of interest from retailers wanting to expand on the West Coast. So we expect to see the same level of interest and enthusiasm at this conference.

Q: What is your assessment of the current market conditions?

A: In terms of property acquisitions — there continues to be a good amount of activity in our markets. Thus far we are on pace for another very strong, record-setting year. In terms of leasing — we continue to see strong demand for space across our markets.

Q: What changes can the retail market in Southern California and the Western Region anticipate in 2015?

A: We do not expect any dramatic shifts in the retailing industry looking towards 2015. We expect demand for space to remain strong. As it relates specifically to our sector, grocery-anchored shopping centers, there could be a small amount of fallout, or transition, as a result of the Albertson’s/Safeway merger, but nothing that the market can’t absorb.

Q: How has the landlord-tenant dynamic shifted in the past several quarters?

A: Given the strong demand for space, the dynamic is much more balanced today.

Q: What trends are you seeing in leasing?

A: An increasing number of large, national retailers are looking to expand on the West Coast. Additionally, we are seeing a lot more regional and local retailers seeking space as well. Overall, the trends are very promising.

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Q: As of Q2 2014, your portfolio is reported to have occupancy rates of 96.8%. North Park Plaza in San Jose, CA is 100% leased. How does ROIC maintain consistent occupancy?

A: By being very proactive and hands-on with our properties and tenants. And by owning properties that well-situated, competitively located in the market that feature daily-necessity retailers that serve the surrounding community well.

Q: What yield enhancement and value add strategies have been most effective in ROIC’s portfolio?

A: Repositioning newly acquired properties where we aggressively improve the tenant mix, typically bringing in new, strong anchor retailers that are well-suited for the market.

Fallbrook Center #02

Q: Which retailers would you identify as ‘best-in-class’ in the grocery-anchored or necessity-based space?

A: We don’t look at leasing that way. We instead take each property individually, look carefully at the demographic profile and competing properties and then work to identify what are the best retailers for that property.

Q: With $357.8 million of shopping center acquisitions year-to-date (July 30, 2014 earnings), how is ROIC different from other REITs in creating opportunities in the current market?

A: Having owned and operated shopping centers for nearly 30 years on the West Coast, we know the markets extremely well and as a result are able to access attractive acquisition opportunities through off-market sources.

Q: What can you share with emerging shopping center professionals?

A: Now is a great time to get into the shopping center industry, especially on the West Coast.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: Aside from enjoying time with my family, I’m involved in a variety philanthropic efforts – most notably the Tanz Neuroscience Center, which was started by my family 20 years ago and today is one of the leading research centers for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

 

Stuart Tanz’s Bio: http://www.roireit.net/company-information/leadership-team/

ROIC Company Information: http://www.roireit.net/company-information/overview/

September 26, 2014

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Congratulations to Montreal Eaton Centre

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Congratulations to Montreal Eaton Centre, an Ivanhoé Cambridge property, the 2014 ICSC Foundation Canadian Community Support Award recipient. For the last decade, Montreal Eaton Centre (MEC) has supported Dans La Rue, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Montreal’s at-risk and homeless youth, through holiday campaigns that aimed to raise awareness and funds. 2013 marked Dans La Rue’s 25th anniversary, and Montreal Eaton Centre wanted to do something special by stepping up its commitment with the “Lights of Hope” campaign, to raise at least $25,000 for the organization.

The ICSC Foundation Community Support Award recognizes shopping centers around the world for their philanthropic work to address the needs of its community. The Canadian Community Support Award Winner, along with the winners of the other regional community support awards, will automatically be entered into a competition for the prestigious Albert Sussman International Community Support Award.

September 17, 2014

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ICSC Retailer of the Week: Central Perk

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This week’s Retailer of the Week is Central Perk. Yes you heard that right, the famous fictional coffee shop from the ever-popular sitcom “Friends” is real and now open in Manhattan SoHo neighborhood. This iteration of the shop is a pop-up shop brought to you by Warner Bros and Eight O’Clock Coffee to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the show.

People lined up as early as 6am to get their chance to sit on the big orange couch that Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachael, Joey and Phoebe once sat on. Free coffee was served and patrons had the chance to purchase memorabilia including shirts, mugs, and of course coffee. A large TV hangs on the walls where you can watch old episodes and every Friday night there will be live performances, including everyone’s favorite “Smelly Cat.”

The store will only be open until October 18th, so don’t miss out on your chance to relive some of the good times the old gang had.

September 16, 2014

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Three Things for National Developers to Consider When Moving to a Local Market

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By: Jill Krupp de Uribe, Neoscape

Across the nation, the retail market is being driven by tenants demanding Class A space, which is in short supply almost everywhere, while the growth of e-commerce, especially in apparel, consumer electronics and office supplies, is slowing construction of brick-and-mortar stores. And yet mixed-use real estate developments have never been more popular because of the proven success that can arise out of combining housing, retail and office space.

For national developers, it may be tempting to take a cookie-cutter approach when it comes to building mixed-use in various markets across the country. But, as with politics, it’s all local. There are, however, ways to maximize success. Here are three items that should always be evaluated.

  • Find the need: This may seem obvious, but sometimes lasting perceptions of a particular city or region can die hard, making it easy to overlook opportunities. For example, according to Cassidy Turley’s State of Commercial Real Estate Development Across the U.S. Fall 2014, Baltimore’s population is steadily increasing for the first time in 60 years.
  • Tailor the amenities: Tastes can vary by zip code. In New York City, developers are going to extremes to find ways to differentiate their projects, especially when it comes to residential mixed-use, from wine cellars and indoor play spaces for kids, to rock climbing walls. In Boston, playing up a commercial building’s location, especially in an emerging district (such as the Seaport), can be considered a unique amenity. For example, the new and highly anticipated Assembly Square mixed-use development in Somerville just got its own MBTA station on the Orange Line. Athletic company New Balance is building a new headquarters called Boston Landing, a mixed-use development that will include its own commuter rail stop.
  • Make the marketing shine: The amount of saturation in cities like New York means developers need to leverage more marketing strategies than they do in Boston or Orlando or smaller markets. Marketing materials that help you stand out include: a strong brand identity, website, apps, films, print collateral, advertising, and even a marketing center. Especially for busy executives and tech-savvy young professionals, an iPad app can be the most effective way to show the layout of the future development. It’s all about having a comprehensive and cohesive campaign, giving people various touch points to interact with the story before the shovel even goes into the ground to build the development. Evaluate how it would be best to get peoples’ attention in your new city.

While following national trends in commercial real estate is essential, what works in one city doesn’t always work in another.

Jill Krupp de Uribe is creative director at Neoscape.

September 15, 2014

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Teach Them to Tweet, Creative Brand Advocates for a Lifetime

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A special ICSC webinar, Wednesday, September 18

#TeachThemToTweet

Your company is ready to go social, but are your coworkers? A socially engaged and knowledgeable workforce can accelerate brand advocacy and enhance departmental objectives. While Altimeter Group reports that 62% of companies do not have an internal social media training program in place, only 43% identified this as a top social priority in 2014.

In this complimentary ICSC webinar featuring Michael Blondé, Education Business Development Manager at Hootsuite, attendees will learn:

  • How social media can enhance top departmental and company-wide goals
  • How to engage your workforce on social for exponential impact and growth
  • Relevant company examples and case studies of social success
  • Hootsuite’s six-step model to becoming a social business

In 45 minutes, you’ll gain industry insights and knowledge on how to integrate and scale social media across your organization, and significantly contribute to your company’s bottom line.

Time zone difference? Schedule conflict? Don’t worry! All registrants will receive a link to the webinar recording within 24 hours after the event, which you can watch at your convenience if you are unable to attend the live presentation.

Presenter: Michael Blondé, Business Development Manager, Education, Hootsuite
Michael Blondé is tasked with creating education rooted initiatives at Hootsuite, in order to support professionals, businesses and large enterprises in their digital transformation by addressing today’ growing digital skills gap. Most recently, he led the launch of the Advanced Social Media Strategy certification, a partnership with one of North America’s premier Communication Schools–Newhouse at Syracuse University.

Moderator: Jesse Tron, Manager, Communications & Media Relations, ICSC
Jesse Tron has been with ICSC for 6 years and handles communications and public relations. He is also in charge of the association’s brand management, recently completing their first-ever branding manual and implementation process. Jesse believes that good PR is built on the principals of content creation, storytelling and successful brand building — all of which he is busy implementing into ICSC’s latest push for greater industry awareness.