Nice day for a swim. ICSC RECon Day 1: PHOTOS and highlights from retail’s biggest bash

CRE dealmakers hit the Vegas strip
By Adam Pincus and Hiten Samtani | May 22, 2016 05:35PM

Jeff Winick playing backgammon by the poolside. Simon Ziff in raver sunglasses being asked by two young hopefuls for a job. Jonathan Mechanic strolling at 2am through mega-club XS, where commercial real estate’s biggest players take their table service very, very seriously.

Where else but Vegas?

Though Sunday marks the official start to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ ReCon Las Vegas, festivities were already in full gear on Saturday, with some of the country’s top retail landlords, developers and brokers getting together at the Wynn European pool to enjoy the gorgeous weather and cocktails.

“More business is done at the pool than anywhere else,” said Winick Realty Group’s Darrell Rubens, who said this was his 16th ICSC.

The Wynn brought together the old guard and the next generation. Johnny Cohen, son of Cohen Equities’ founder Meir Cohen, was savoring his first ICSC from the poolside bar, while his father, a veteran of the convention, was cabana-hopping. Bobby Adjmi of A&H Acquisitions popped in, as did Aurora Capital Associates’ Jared Epstein. Cushman & Wakefield’s Bob Knakal alternated between dips in the pool and lounging right outside his cabana.

“If you’re connected, you’re here,” said David Maundrell, who runs new development in Brooklyn and Queens for Citi Habitats.

(To see all ICSC RECon 2016 coverage, click here)

Though the usual back-slapping exuberance was in full display, there was also a tinge of anxiety among the New York brokers, who spoke of the Manhattan retail market as a correction waiting to happen. Despite rapidly-increasing supply in many corridors, and a slowdown of in-store sales that’s seen rents fall in 10 of the city’s top 12 retail corridors, many landlords were holding out for higher rents, brokers said, causing deals to dry up. Politics also popped up, with one top investment sales broker lambasting Mayor Bill de Blasio for what he said was a shocking lack of transparency and ethics related to his fundraising activities.

The guests then split up into different factions: some made their way to Vornado Realty Trust’s reception at the Encore, others to private dinners, and some to take a nap and recharge before Round 2 in the evening. Thor Equities threw a lavish event at Le Cave at the Wynn.

Many convened for some late-night excess at XS, the gargantuan nightclub at the Encore. Among those spotted taking in hype-machine David Guetta’s thumping tunes: VTS’ Nick Romito and Ryan Masiello; Madison Realty Capital’s Josh Zegen; A&H’s Alex Adjmi and Aurora’s Epstein — calling the setup they had right by the DJ booth a “table” would be a massive understatement –; WeWork’s Mark Lapidus and Arash Gohari; Keystone Equities’ Jonathan Zamir; Fried Frank’s Mechanic; and Prince Realty Advisors’ David Ash and Alexandre Vial. The Real Deal called it a night around 3:30 a.m., but it appeared the party was far from done.

(All photos by Adam Pincus for The Real Deal)