Retail brokers flock to Sin City for the annual ICSC convention

A manic Monday night in Vegas

Jun.June 01, 2011 02:37 PM

The Durst Organization’s party last month at the “RECon” convention in Las Vegas
The Durst Organization’s party last month at the “RECon” convention in Las Vegas
Ah, conventioneering. Though dressed impeccably in a pinstriped suit during last month’s “RECon” global retail convention in Las Vegas, broker Ariel Schuster said he felt a bit groggy.

“We were out until 3 a.m.,” the Robert K. Futterman & Associates star told The Real Deal in the early afternoon of the conference’s third day.

But “The Hangover Part II” this was not. Schuster had been entertaining landlord clients at a late-night dinner following a party hosted by Futterman at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

In fact, most business at the trade show is transacted outside the show itself, he said. This is a refrain often heard at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual convention. Considered the most important retail event of the year, the show drew about 32,000 attendees.

That’s up by about a thousand from last year, but down from the go-go year of 2007, when upward of 50,000 people crammed the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center on Paradise Road.

The same Monday night that Futterman hosted its cocktail party, three other Manhattan-based firms fêted clients and brokers.

The Durst Organization debuted a rendering of the three floors of space with 42,550 square feet available at 4 Times Square to about 120 real estate professionals at the restaurant Aureole.

John Grotto, senior leasing manager at Durst, said the firm did not rent a booth at the show because “our audience is the New York City market,” and the convention captures too wide a group to make it worthwhile.

Instead, the firm decided to invite a select group of ten dozen brokers to dinner.

Also that night, brokerage Newmark Knight Frank hosted a party in the trendy Marquee nightclub. By 9 p.m. there was a line out the door as the 1,500 people on the guest list strained to get in.

Brokers and landlords say that the convention’s many social opportunities outside allow them to trade information with more finesse than usual, even if it’s bad news.

At a poolside party hosted by Cushman & Wakefield at the Four Seasons Hotel, Sherri White, a senior vice president at Vornado Realty Trust, cautiously unloaded a tidbit that generated a bit of a scowl from Joanne Podell, an executive vice president at Cushman. White told Podell about possible competition for a retail location one of Podell’s clients wanted.

“I try to be honest with everyone,” White explained.

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