Chicago ICSC Dealmaking 2014
By: Steve Caton
I always find that trade shows and conventions are a good indicator on how the economy and your industry are doing. This year was no exception. Having been going to ICSC events since 2004, I witnessed the robust years in 2005-2007, where attendances in Chicago and Las Vegas were insane, so crowded that you could barely meet the people you wanted to meet, to the slim years of 2009-2011 where everyone got together to complain that not much was happening and no one could get any money for their projects or purchases. This year was somewhere in the middle.
In my opinion, it was a healthy optimistic crowd. The event was well-attended with the right people, and when you asked anyone “how was business?”, you would get pretty much the same response, “I’m so busy, best year in a long time.” Our company, Caton Commercial had a booth this year as we have for the past few years in Chicago, and it couldn’t be busier. Here are some of the trends that stood out to me:
- capital groups were in full force looking to purchase everything from value-add to stabilized multi-tenant retail properties
- Banks are lending again and that includes for leasehold improvements
- not a lot of retail presence, but the tenant rep brokers were in full force with expanding tenants
- the suburb municipal governments had good representation and were soliciting help for projects they want to move and are willing to give incentives for
- 2nd generation restaurant spaces were a hit
- brokers are active and busy. There wasn’t a conversation where I didn’t find some potential opportunity to do business with the person I was talking with
Overall, the sentiment was positive and optimistic, and I look forward to ICSC in Las Vegas in 2015.