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NYDM Preview: Starwood Retail Plans to Kickstart Leasing Deals

This story originally appeared in Shopping Centers Today on November 26, 2018
By Joe Gose

With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us and the holidays and new year approaching, it can only mean that ICSC’s annual New York Deal Making show is once again foremost on the minds of shopping center professionals. Developers, brokers, retailers and others in the industry attending this year’s show, being held Dec. 4-6 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, are not only ready to tie up deals and embark on new ones, but they’re also eager to gauge sentiment about the prolonged economic cycle heading into 2019.

Michael Glimcher, CEO of Chicago-based shopping center landlord Starwood Retail Partners and a longtime ICSC member, gave us a bead on how executives are approaching this year’s convention.

MG Interview

Q: How do you plan to spend your time at ICSC’s upcoming New York Deal Making?

A: This show has become really important for Starwood Retail Partners, and I’ve come to value it more every year. It’s always a good social convention and a great time to visit New York. Even though much of the retail focus today is about data and analysis, ours is still a relationship-oriented business, and meetings with people generally last a little longer than they do at ICSC RECon in May. So for me, the New York convention is about getting in front of people and gearing up for January and the new year, which is when I like to send the leasing team out on the road.

Q: Do you anticipate inking any deals?

A: You’re typically not going to get a deal done in a 45-minute or hour-long meeting, but we can start one, make progress on one or even finalize one that’s in the works. And for whatever reason, this particular show seems to attract a higher level of officers, and it’s all about leasing, so we really roll up our sleeves. Getting everyone in the same room at the same time is like a stocked pond – it’s a lot easier to catch fish.

Q: Are there any particular developments or assets you’ll highlight this year?

A: Our big focus right now is our Shops at Willow Bend project in North Dallas, where we are making a new $130 million investment. We just opened up a huge chef-driven restaurant park, and there’s a lot of buzz surrounding it. But we’ve also got 30 different assets with activity going on at every one. Frankly, we’re just more active in leasing than we’ve ever been because the average rate of turnover in this industry is higher than in the past.

Starwood also has a big emphasis on mixed-use, and the New York show will include a lot of developers from the non-retail world – people in the apartment, hotel and office business – because they know they can get in front of a captive group of landlords that own large tracts of ground.     

Q: What strategic changes are you making at the show compared with past years?

A: In the past we wanted to be near all of our mall-owning peers, but we moved our booth to the upper level to take advantage of being in proximity to brokerages and community center and power centers companies. The universe of tenants that we’re attracting and are interested in attracting going forward is not just for the mall anymore.