Recap of 42nd Annual US Shopping Center Law Conference: October 24-27, 2012
The International Council of Shopping Center (“ICSC”) held its 42nd annual US Shopping Center Law Conference in Orlando from October 24-27. Approximately 1,350 attendees representing a diverse cross-section of the retail real estate industry attended the four-day program, which included more than 65 sessions on a range of hot-button topics and recent developments on various subjects such as leasing, financing, insurance and center management.
The attendance was the highest it has been since the economic downturn and attendees noted that the mood was generally positive and more energetic than past years. The subject matter of workshops, seminars and roundtables also reflected a shift toward a more positive outlook, with many topics focusing on new development, construction issues and expansion. Attendees observed that a major difference from recent prior years was the shift in subject matter away from distressed topics and exit strategies, indicative of the industry moving forward in a positive way.
Attendance at workshops and roundtables reflected the overall strong turnout. The Workshops Subcommittee reported the vast majority of workshops were filled to capacity and many attendees had a difficult time choosing which to attend because of the multitude of interesting topics. An increase in the number of peer workshops also provided additional options for attendees looking to delve more deeply into a particular subject. Attendees noted the roundtables were “jam-packed” and “buzzing” early each morning. The workshop and roundtable structure is widely regarded as one of the many strengths of the Conference because the setting facilitates a high level of participation and is an opportunity to share various valuable industry experiences with one another.
Another difference this year was the increase in attendance of younger professionals. Programming for first time attendees was well-conceived and well-attended, potentially coinciding with the law committee’s and ICSC’s increased usage of social media outlets, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.