Top 5 Things I Learned at the ICSC Florida Conference

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This year’s ICSC Florida Conference had the largest attendance in over a decade with 4,500 professionals, it hasn’t reached this level since prior to the recession.  There were also more exhibitors in the Deal Making hall than ever before.  With the Florida conference as the 3rd largest event that ICSC presents, it’s no surprise there were a few things to learn this year.

 

  1. With the focus on technology across the world, it’s no surprise that the Real Estate industry is evolving with that. We have even talked about it previously on our blog.  This year there will be 2,000 apps dropped on the real estate industry alone.
  2. The shifting demographics in our country mean that the retail industry is changing to appeal to these different generations with different mindsets. One universal focus we should have is that as companies we are in the business of giving consumers reasons to give us their money.
  3. Opportunity zones are a new product designed by the government that is a place for high net worth investors to only pay 85% of capital gains. This can be a great benefit if you own a property in one of these areas or are looking to invest.
  4. The Florida economy has been slower to grow than the rest of the country following the recession, but all statistics and consumer sentiment indicate that the confidence is back.
  5. Industrial real estate is growing leaps and bounds. As the ecommerce division of retail grows, companies need a place to store the products they are delivering to customers.

 

This years’ conference was fantastic and such a learning experience to immerse myself in what is going on throughout Florida and the Southeast.  What did you learn at this years’ conference?

 

Corporate Property Dispositions, a leading real estate advisory firm founded in 2003, works in partnership with companies to divest their surplus commercial properties. With over 200 years of combined real estate experience, our skilled professionals provide clients with the knowledge, key information and guidance needed to make informed decisions regarding their real estate portfolio. Our strategic counsel and results-driven approach converts our clients’ potential property value into delivered value.

Technology’s Transformative Effect on the Retail Industry

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Today’s retailers are becoming increasingly innovative as they incorporate technology into brick and mortar stores. For instance, omnichannel retail, which reflects a fully-integrated approach to commerce and connects with consumers via multiple channels, requires extensive technology and logistical planning to be successful.

Retailers, eager to compete in a competitive marketplace, are now implementing an array of new technologies to enhance the customer experience.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) is drawing from the data collected on each shopper and analyzing it in order to make improvements to the in-store shopping experience.  Simultaneously, AI is tracking store inventory to better assist the logistics team and ensure proper quantities of items are readily available.

Customer data and real-time analytics collected through AI can be a tremendous help to in-store associates. Not only can this data help employees better manage scheduling and inventory, but it can provide customer profiles that indicate product preferences and what customers are most likely to purchase based on their personal history.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are also being used in stores as a creative way to interact with customers.  With AR and VR technologies, some stores are showcasing smart mirrors that allow customers to try on clothes and makeup through overlays.  A similar type of technology is being included in-store apps.  For example, Gymboree is in the midst of a brand relaunch, and it designed its new app, “Made You Smile,” with AR technology so customers can “try on” their newest line.

As the technological shift in the retail industry continues, there will be even greater changes in stores.  Data collected by retailers — whether it is how many customers are in the store at a given time, what items are most popular or need replenishment, or the frequency of registered customers coming into the store – will offer key insights that affect both strategy and space usage.  Apps will become increasingly popular as buyers use them to virtually try on exactly what they are looking for and know immediately if their size is available.

The merger between technology and logistics will enable retailers to better serve customers in real time.  It also will ensure that customers’ expectations are met and their shopping experiences are positive ones.

Corporate Property Dispositions, a leading real estate advisory firm founded in 2003, works in partnership with companies to divest their surplus commercial properties. With over 200 years of combined real estate experience, our skilled professionals provide clients with the knowledge, key information and guidance needed to make informed decisions regarding their real estate portfolio. Our strategic counsel and results-driven approach converts our clients’ potential property value into delivered value.

Experiential Retailers Reinvent Today’s Shopping Centers

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Not long ago when you visited your local mall or shopping center your choices were limited. There may have been an anchor store or two, several smaller shops with assorted goods and services and a few choice restaurants. If you were lucky, a movie theater provided an opportunity for some added enjoyment.

Although that was the accepted norm for many decades, the rise of e-commerce, the decline of traditional department stores, and a shift towards a more minimalistic lifestyle in which experiences are favored over tangible items have forced today’s retail centers to undergo a major transformation in order to survive.

But what is it that consumers want, and how can commercial property owners and retailers respond?  Many consumers regardless of their age have a “live, work, play” mindset. Rather than compartmentalizing activities, they are looking to create a blend of experiences that are not just fun, but memorable.

Shopping center owners are recognizing a shift in tenancy in their own centers and are leveraging their marketing efforts to attract customers for these entertainment or experiential retailers and the center as a whole.  They are showcasing through their marketing efforts that these centers meet the needs of the live, work, play mentality.

Although movie theaters, which have long been associated with malls and retail centers, continue to draw crowds, many different types of experiential retailers now have been added to the mix.  Arcades, trampoline centers, climbing walls, children’s play areas, mini golf courses, mystery game breakout rooms and more are giving consumers a variety of entertainment options and a reason to return to the retail center time and again.

Experiential retailers offer an added bonus to commercial properties. Consumers who visit the experiential retailer are likely to explore adjacent stores. They remain longer on the premises, increasing foot traffic and potential sales, and adding to a thriving retail center.

Of course, savvy commercial real estate owners realize that securing the right experiential tenant for their space is only the first step. They must also adjust their marketing efforts to reflect that their shopping centers are now key experiential destinations, catering to a wide range of demographic groups and their interests. A combination of creative digital and traditional marketing campaigns can stimulate interest and help increase foot traffic throughout the center.

Shopping centers and malls that embrace experiential/entertainment retailers are better positioned to succeed in today’s ever-evolving marketplace. Consumers who see your retail center as a preferred destination and value their experiences there will be more inclined to share that news with others and become repeat visitors.

Corporate Property Dispositions, a leading real estate advisory firm founded in 2003, works in partnership with companies to divest their surplus commercial properties. With over 200 years of combined real estate experience, our skilled professionals provide clients with the knowledge, key information, and guidance needed to make informed decisions regarding their real estate portfolio. Our strategic counsel and results-driven approach convert our clients’ potential property value into delivered value.

 

 

 

Remembering Mike Folio

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CPD is saddened to share the news that our founder, Mike Folio, has passed away.  Mike, a talented, innovative and driven real estate veteran, was admired and respected by colleagues and competitors alike.

Mike’s impressive career began as the Director of Real Estate at Grand Union Supermarkets New York region. He later held positions as Assistant Vice President for First Capital Financial Corporation, Partner and Vice President of Real Estate Development at Lewis Property Investors, and Vice President and Senior Vice President of Real Estate at The Home Depot.  During his 13-year tenure at The Home Depot, Mike was instrumental in the development of over 1,600 new stores. Subsequently, Mike founded CPD, one of the first companies in the industry to focus on the disposition of real estate assets and led the business until his retirement.

During the past several years, Mike battled Alzheimer’s disease. Together, he and his wife, Cheryl brought greater visibility to how to live the best possible life after receiving this terrible diagnosis.  Michael and Cheryl published a book titled “The 24-Hour Rule” that highlighted the methods they used to allow them to live a meaningful life together while continuing to adjust to his “new normal”.  They were greatly helped by their two emotional support animals, Oliver and Baxter, and strengthened by the love of their family. Mike leaves behind his devoted wife Cheryl, three daughters, Laura, Brielle and Tara, and his stepchildren Jared and Samantha Levin.

Mike and Cheryl were committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and participated in numerous fundraisers and races.  In memory of Mike, CPD is actively supporting the  Alzheimer’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to researching this disease and supporting the families affected.  You can find information about the foundation and the disease at: http://act.alz.org/goto/LevinFolio

 

ICSC Southeast Conference Review

CPD team members recently attended the ICSC Southeast Conference in Atlanta, GA. This event is one of many regional conferences held around the country each year for those in the Retail Commercial Real Estate industry. Attended by retailers, brokers, and developers alike; it is a great venue to get a sense of where the industry stands in the regions.

This year the Cobb Galleria Centre was abuzz with attendees from all over the Southeast. There was a feeling in the air of making things happen, matching properties with retailers and deals closing.  Of course, when you think of retail these days one of the first things people think about is the effect of online shopping. I was lucky enough to attend one of the many sessions that occur during the conference, this one focused specifically on the “Amazon-effect” and how it is affecting brick and mortar retail growth. The panel that spoke during this session was made up of different industry executives that make the key decisions to purchase or finance retail spaces. The general consensus that I gleaned from this session was that brick and mortar retail is changing but it is definitely here to stay. It is becoming more of an experience and consumers are wanting something more from their shopping trips. There will always be certain categories of retail that will do best with in-person shopping but as we move forward parts of that experience will likely change. It’s a great time to be in this industry to be able to adapt and help facilitate that change.  As your footprint and needs change for your store, reach out to CPD to help you to create added value for unused or under-utilized spaces.

All in all, it was a great conference and we look forward to attending more around the country this year. If you will be attending one of the ICSC conferences and would like to meet with one of our team members to discuss your needs please let us know, we look forward to meeting you.

One broker’s opinion on the State of the Disposition Market

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I had a chance to sit down with Keith Valentine this week and ask him about what he is currently seeing in the real estate industry within the dispositions arena.  Keith has been in the Real Estate industry for over 30 years and focusing on dispositions for the last 18 years.  He has seen the market in a number of different states and sheds some light for us on what he is currently experiencing.

Keith, what would you say is the overall feel of the real estate market for dispositions?

In order to answer this you have to look at Land and Building separately as well as look back to what the market was. For land during the recession no one needed outparcels because they needed a loan. So unless they were self-financed there wasn’t much movement. Now the market is broad and deep and we are getting a lot of calls on our inventory.  As for our buildings there was less demand due to corporate slow down during the recession. Now they are in demand, and due to their good locations, we are very busy.

Do you see any particular industries growing over others?

Everything seems to be growing and moving more than it has been and certainly more than in the Great Recession. For the outparcels, I have seen new fast food and fast casual concepts growing as well as the traditional fast food. In addition to those, cell companies, dental, automotive, dollar stores, and to a limited degree the banks and financial services.  For our buildings I think the question is more “Who’s back?” and I think that is the craft stores like Hobby Lobby & Michaels, sporting goods, and home decorating stores.  Shopping centers have just started building again in the last 24 months and they still want to be grocery anchored.  The specialty grocery industry is also launching their smaller cost-effective brands that are geared toward millennials.

In contrast have you seen any industries whose growth has slowed or stopped all together?

I would say that I’ve noticed industries that have had to re-vamp their approach due to the changing climate like those in the electronics, computer and office supply segments.

Final question, compared to this time last year what changes are you seeing?

Pricing of property and space have increased to the point that it makes you think “What Recession?” and activity has increased accordingly.

Thank you Keith for sharing your insight with us.  He wanted to leave us with one final thought, there is still going to be a greater demand for better sites.  Overall, it seems like the market is only getting better every day, things are adapting to the new consumer demands and marketplace but still moving and good product will always move.

 

By Keith Valentine and Amy Marrs