ICSC Southwest Idea Exchange 2012 Recap

The Southwest Idea Exchange has always been the official kickoff to the Phoenix Retail Market leasing activity. We are past the holidays, the bowl games, car auctions, the Phoenix Open and Super Bowl. It is really the turning point when everyone in the industry finally comes back to office to finish the projects that have lingered over the previous 60 days or so.

This year, it was definitely more positive than it has been for the past 4 years. I was reminiscing with a few colleagues around the middle of the conference as to previous years:

-2008 we started to see trouble. Deals were becoming tough to do.
-2009 – utter horror on what was happening in the economy and our local market. We had all jumped off the steep ravine and were in free fall.
-2010 – we hit the ground with a loud thud. There would be a heartbeat or two this year, but still shocked from the fall.
-2011 – we looked around to see who was still left and jokingly would say we have survived.
-2012 – I must say, it was very positive and I believe a good indicator for us all as we move forward.

The retail tenant panel that started the event…it was kicked off by them all saying they were planning to open stores in 2012 and 2013. Significant increases since 2008.

In the two breakout sessions I attended, the panelist did a great job. Even in the loan workout session, there were positive comments made about the situation most owners are facing when it comes to a looming loan maturity on properties that have lost value since peak prices. It doesn’t mean that everyone will be saved, but there are now options that can work.

All in all, the negativity of the past 4 years is finally behind us. We have survived, we have been humbled and we have all learned some invaluable lessons.