ICSC 2017: The excess at XS

Superclub at Encore scene of raucous pre-conference partying

The excess at XS (Credit: XS)
The excess at XS (Credit: XS)

If the patron saints of testosterone and decadence sat down together and dreamed up the ideal venue for a New York real estate bash, that venue would be XS.

The Vegas superclub at the Encore served as scene for the first late-night bash of this year’s ICSC. Not yet drained by sleep deprivation or work meetings, landlords, brokers and developers went hard — and set the tone for the days to come.

Depending on your perspective the club is an assault on — or feast for — the senses. There’s gold everywhere, along with enormous chandeliers, naked headless mannequins, and intermittent explosions of mist and confetti. One broker told us that he took a few steps in, and hastily made an about-turn. Though there are more than 100 tables across the 5,000-person space, New York real estate pros made sure to get the most conspicuous ones, right on the dance floor.

Holding court at the alpha table in fist-bumping proximity to the DJ were the Adjmi and Cayre families and their associates, including Alex Adjmi, Bobby Adjmi, Bobby Cayre and Jared Epstein. ICSC veterans such as Fried Frank’s Jonathan Mechanic and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s Jeffrey Roseman were spotted kicking back with them.

There seemed to almost be a force field around the table; younger players would enter and pay their respects to the chiefs, maybe grab a drink, but then would retreat to the outer edges and mingle with their peers. Those more comfortable with their status stood on the couches at the table and showed an impressive ability to carry out intimate conversations even with the music blasting. Outside, revelers at the poolside under David Guetta’s spell jumped when he told them to jump; no such thing here, however.

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Sometime after 1 a.m., Jeff Sutton of Wharton Properties strolled in with his son Joseph, making a rockstar entrance at the table and exchanging rapid-fire embraces with his counterparts. It was a scene unique to ICSC: famously press-shy retail moguls out in the open, enjoying their moment.

New York real estate had set up camp all over the gold-plated club, which is part of Encore. On a table just right of the dance floor was WeWork’s global head of real estate Mark Lapidus, along with Xerxes Capital’s Daniel Gohari, Keystone Equities Jonathan Zamir, PD Properties’ Elad Dror, Westwood Realty Associates’ Steven Vegh and several others. A couple tables over was Haim Chera. Though Simon Ziff was repeatedly encouraged to climb over the velvet rope, he seemed happiest executing 70s-style disco moves on the dance floor, sunglasses and all.

Cocktail waitresses being carried through the card by hulks ensured that the booze was constantly flowing. And this is after an afternoon of revelry at the Encore Beach Club, Marquee, and many other spots along the Strip.

Perhaps because it was the first night, and everyone was looking to get their party fix, there seemed to be much less business discussed than usual. This reporter took off at about 4 a.m., and he was one of the weaker ones.

(To view a ranking of Manhattan’s most valuable retail leases of 2016, click here)