Many of New York City’s largest retail owners, including Jeff Sutton and members of the Cayre families, will not attend the annual International Conference of Shopping Center’s RECon this year because it conflicts with an important Jewish holiday.
In addition to the top owners, there are dozens of brokers and related professionals who will not attend the Las Vegas show, including most of Meridian Capital Group and Eastern Union Funding’s debt brokers and Kassin Sabbagh Realty’s agents.
“We have attended the show for close to 20 years now,” Abraham Bergman of Eastern Union said. “We will miss it this year and will instead head out and meet our clients in their home towns.”
The global conference, the largest retail real estate convention in the world, is scheduled for May 20 to May 23.
The Jewish holiday Shavuot begins at sundown, Saturday, May 19 and ends sundown Monday, May 21. But for observant Jews, with the Sabbath starting on Friday night, the time they cannot work extends from Friday night to Monday sundown.
Although the show continues on Tuesday and Wednesday, the bulk of New York business is typically conducted starting Saturday and Sunday at pool parties at the Wynn and other hotels. The buzz at those parties is expected to be much lower this year, longtime attendees said.
“If you know the popular kids are not going to the party, then you are not going to go,” said Jonathan Adelsberg, a partner of Midtown-based law firm Herrick Feinstein. He has attended for the past several years, but he is not attending this year, although not because of Shavuot.
“I think a good number of my clients are not going this year, and so my level of productivity would be much better if I stay in town,” he said.
Some observant real estate players are looking at a workaround, in which they would fly out Friday before sundown and not work until Monday evening, then attend parties and the show on Tuesday.
ICSC chartered a plane to fly from Chicago after sundown to bring professionals from that city.
One New York owner/broker, who asked not to be identified, said he was frustrated that ICSC organizers hadn’t resolved the Shauvot scheduling conflict.
“The impact is tremendous,” the insider said. “You can’t really qualify what you are losing or not losing. It’s just not being out there.”