By Herb Weitzman, Executive Chairman, Weitzman
Our Texas team just returned from the International Council of Shopping Center’s RECon in Las Vegas armed with information that will lead to new locations for retailers, restaurants and services.
So how did the 2017 RECon compare to previous years? The general consensus we heard from our own people and other attendees is that it was the best in nearly a decade in both enthusiasm and retailer activity.
During the two and a half days of dealmaking at the convention, our team held 384 scheduled meetings. On top of that, there were countless impromptu meetings in lobbies, Starbucks queues, hallways and taxi lines crowded with retail real estate professionals from across the country and around the world.
Multiply our experience across the hundreds of real estate companies at the show, and you understand the energy pulsing through the Las Vegas Convention Center. Here are our key takeaways from the Las Vegas convention.
• Retailers really like Texas. We met with numerous national concepts who want to roll out in multiple Texas markets, seeing Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio as areas offering growth in population, housing and incomes.
• Once-skeptical mall and Class A center operators are embracing fitness as a must-have use. Major landlords are even creating portfolio reviews designed to see where fitness uses make the most sense. They like the daily traffic these concepts create, which is important for cross-shopping of the mall’s other tenants.
• National and international investors see Texas as a great place to acquire investment-grade retail properties. The demand, however, outpaces the supply currently being offered, and there is still a disconnect in what investors want to pay and what owners want to sell for.
• Despite press coverage of store closings, the buzz filling the Las Vegas Convention Center was about retailers who are expanding. And there are a lot of them, including:
· Value-oriented apparel and home furnishings retailers
· Entertainment-focused concepts
· Fitness concepts
· Beauty concepts
So when you see a new national retailer open in your neighborhood, there’s a good chance it was the result of a deal first discussed in Las Vegas.