ReCon, short for Real Estate Convention, is the largest real estate trade show in the U.S. It is put on by the International Council for Shopping Centers (ICSC) and is attended by over 35,000 professionals involved in the real estate industry. It takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center which is the largest convention center in the U.S. with over 3,000,000 SF of exhibit space. Attendees and exhibitors include retailers, leasing professionals, finance companies, developers, property owners, property managers and real estate brokers and salespeople.
This year’s convention was the busiest that I have been to and the first time that I had a full schedule of appointments with clients, real estate developers and retailers set up prior to the event. I ran into 5 real estate professionals from Traverse City and numerous brokers from Michigan, Illinois & Indiana that have done business in Traverse City. The energy and enthusiasm this year was vibrant and property owners were making deals with tenants at the tables in the exhibit booths.
I met with many different retailers over the two days I spent at the convention. The ones that had an interest in opening locations in Northern Michigan were more numerous than past years. Many of the retailers had the same reason for not currently opening a location here; They are having a hard time finding a quality property in a prime location. The property in shortest supply is a newer strip mall with an end-cap location and good road visibility. A drive-thru window was a must for many of the restaurants and food related businesses as well.
Some of the businesses that are actively expanding in Michigan, include many hotel chains such as Hilton, Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites and Garden Inn. The restaurants include popular choices such as Chipotle, Starbuck’s, Dunkin Donuts, Firehouse Subs and Moe’s Southwest Grill. There was a long list of retailers and that includes Bass Pro Shops, Costco, CVS, Sports Clips, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Family Dollar, AutoZone, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Pet Supplies Plus.
In addition to retailers, I spoke with four different developers that would like to develop sites in Traverse City. The sites they are looking for are class A locations that have good demographics, easy ingress/egress, and are being offered for sale at market price. After a long hiatus, vacant land is being evaluated, developed and sold once again. The upbeat nature of this conference, definitely points to good times ahead for real estate, Northern Michigan and the economy.
Dan Stiebel, CCIM