PHILADELPHIA, PA—As the ICSC Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey chapters get ready for their dealmaking conference in Atlantic City next week, Paige Jaffe, first vice president at CBRE in Philadelphia, is looking forward to her first conference as state director for the region as she helps members cope with rapid changes in the shopping center markets.
“We should probably have between 1,200 and 1,400 people,” she says of the conference that runs from September 11-13. “It’s a little more intimate than some of the other ICSC conferences around the country. You really have an opportunity to network with a lot of these individuals that you may not have the opportunity to get in front of in other settings.”
Among the keynote speakers expected to appear at the conference is Todd Carmichael, chief executive officer and co-founder of La Colombe Coffee Roasters, a Philadelphia premium coffee company. Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian has also been invited to appear.
Listen to our exclusive audio interview with Paige Jaffe in the player below.
The conference will include a series of roundtable discussions on such topics as ADA issues, Social Media 101 for Owners and Developers, Medical Leasing, and Tax Appeals. There will also be a session on adding craft beer breweries/distilleries to shopping centers, and a more general panel on business law for retail professionals.
Experiential retail is increasingly on ICSC members’ minds, she says.
“People want more than just going to a store and buying a shirt or pair of pants,” she says. “They want a really cool dining experience, so restaurants and food and beverage is extremely hot right now. We’re seeing that all over the board in urban and suburban settings.”
Food and beverage is one of the hottest sectors in urban retain environments, driven by larger space availability, particularly in Center City Philadelphia, where retailers can be close to both office workers and city dwellers, Jaffe says.
Specialty fitness is also hot, she says. Suburban Square Mall in Ardmore, PA is a good example, where Lifetime Fitness is taking 77,000 square feet of a former Macy’s store in the mall, she says.
“It’s an example of how experience took over a big box,” she says.
Deal-making has changed somewhat, Jaffe says. “Everything takes a little longer, each one of these experiential retailers has different requirements, different build-outs,” she says. “Back in the day, your typical big box would say, ‘I need x number of square footage, I need x ceiling heights,’ and call it a day.”
E-commerce retailers are increasingly opening bricks-and-mortar outlets, particularly in urban settings, Jaffe says. “They need to have both, they need to have bricks-and-mortar, and they need an online presence as well,” she says.