ICSC 44th Annual US Shopping Center Law Conference Recap: Something for Everyone
Last week, the International Council of Shopping Centers hosted its 44th annual U.S. Shopping Center Law Conference in Orlando, Florida from October 22nd - 25th. It saw an incredible turnout of approximately 1,430 attendees and included over 75 sessions and 100 roundtables, along with several networking opportunities and receptions. The sessions covered a wide range of topics from financing to joint ventures, mixed use projects and risk management. While the retail industry remains in a state of change, topics focused on issues related to the impact of the internet on bricks and mortar retailing, redeveloping or de-malling, and creative re-use of anchor boxes. Saturday featured the leasing symposium, which included many hot topics in the retail leasing world.
ICSC tapped over 155 industry speakers, from in-house counsel to consultants in the industry to practitioners in private law firms. Many of the sessions offered opportunities for discussion with the panelists. In particular, the peer to peer sessions present a more in-depth look at a topic and are therefore attractive to the more experienced practitioner. Another favorite for most attendees are the breakfast roundtables-too bad they start so early!! This year the roundtables covered practical topics, such as issues in conforming leases, as well as more general topics on SNDAs and exclusives. Because the roundtable format is conducive to group discussion, it offers a great opportunity to meet and learn from other attendees’ experiences.
The conference also featured a number of sessions and networking opportunities for first time attendees and younger practitioners. While the conference is large, one of its primary goals is to present opportunities to meet others working in the industry. With most communication happening through email and other forms of social media, the opportunities to meet opposing counsel, co-counsel and other players in the industry can be few and far between. While all these methods of communication can bring deal efficiency, there is often nothing more helpful to a difficult issue than a personal relationship. The law conference makes those kinds of connections possible.
Overall, the mood at this year's conference was very upbeat. Gone were the sessions on troubled deals, foreclosure and rent relief. Sessions were filled to capacity focusing on new construction, re-purposing centers and moving forward in this new economy. This year’s law conference was a huge success, and anyone involved in the business of shopping center leasing and development understands that this venue offers a one of a kind opportunity to stay abreast of the hot-button topics in the industry, as well as allowing a wonderful environment to facilitate new and existing relationships among those that attended.
Next year's law conference will be October 28-31 in Phoenix, Arizona. Mark your calendar. It is sure to be another great event.