What happens in Vegas: ICSC brings back in-person annual conference

Retail landlord trade group’s big bash returns to Sin City Dec. 5-7

ICSC President Tom McGee and the Las Vegas Convention Center (ICSC via YouTube/Wikimedia)
ICSC President Tom McGee and the Las Vegas Convention Center (ICSC via YouTube/Wikimedia)

One of the biggest real estate events of the year is making a comeback.

The organization formerly known as the International Council of Shopping Centers — recently rebranded to “Innovating Commerce Serving Communities” — is reviving its annual three-day conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center this December.

Typically held in May and similarly rebranded from its former name, ReCon, retail real estate’s biggest bash last occurred in 2019 before ICSC suspended live events for more than a year due to the ongoing pandemic. This year’s event, dubbed “Here, We Go. 2021,” will take place Dec. 5 to 7.

Attendees will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test within 48 hours of entry, according to the organization’s website.

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“ICSC events have always provided leaders in the marketplaces industry an opportunity to make connections, meet dealmakers, and reach innovators, and this year it is especially meaningful to bring people back together live in Las Vegas,” said ICSC CEO Tom McGee in a statement provided to The Real Deal.

The conference has historically drawn up to 30,000 attendees, including retail landlords, brokers, retailers and other commercial real estate players for days of networking, dealmaking and entertainment.

But ICSC has had a rough year to this point, 18 months into a pandemic that has hammered brick-and-mortar retail in general and conference organizers in particular.

In June, the organization laid off the majority of its employees, including 18 of its 22 events staffers. Prior to the pandemic, the nonprofit had struggled with declining membership and longstanding internal strife, according to interviews last year with more than a dozen former staffers and current ICSC members.

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