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Despite the proliferation of online retail, customers still want the experience of shopping in-store. No wonder the optimismcontinued into this year’s ICSC New York National Conference, which was held Monday and Tuesday at the Hilton and Sheraton.
ICSC CEO Michael Kercheval and Hutensky Capital Partners president Brad Hutensky
We snapped ICSC CEO Michael Kercheval and Hutensky Capital Partners president Brad Hutensky (ICSC chairman). Brad says plenty of the top 20 e-retailers have brick-and-mortar to accompany their sites; and even though stores are getting smaller, some retailers are making up for that in more locations; and new development will be optimized for that. The bad news: a loss of $23B in taxes this year due to online retailers, making the playing field unlevel. A great gift this year would be for the government to pass legislation about collecting taxes online, Michael notes. (But we're not exactly sure how to wrap that. Expired savings bonds and a bow?)
Levin Management's Melissa Sievwright, Michael Cohen, and Matt Harding
The majority of Levin Management’s 95 retail centers in NY, NJ, and PA had strong Black Fridays, says president Matt Harding (right, snapped with colleagues Melissa Sievwright and Michael Cohen), particularly on the heels of Hurricane Sandy. Its annual pre-holiday retail sentiment survey reported retailer sales year-to-date at the same or higher levels than 2011, and their expectations for holiday sales are the same or better than last year. He says that, overall, retailers feel positive and expect the sales peak will come in the last two weeks of the year.

Newmark Grubb Knight Frank's Ross Kaplan, Gregory Kirsch, Jason Mauer, Jeff Roseman, and Marc Frankel
The Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Retail team of Ross Kaplan,Jason Maurer, Gregory Kirsch (joining them from Chicago), Jeff Roseman, and Marc Frankel report that there’s an uptick in the food and restaurant segment. “All of the nationals are here,” Jeff says. “Even some we haven’t seen in years.” (Does that mean Kenny Rogers Roasters is coming back?)
Sholom & Zuckerbrot’s Frank Zuckerbrot and The Shopping Center Group’s David Firestein flank Equinox/ Blink Fitness’ Bill Miller
That sentiment was echoed at the annual Retail Runway show, which featured top national brands and their expansion plans. The gastro side included Noodles, which will break into the Boston, Long Island, NJ, and Hartford markets next year; and Jersey Mike’s, which has a spot under development at 80 Maiden Lane, another five to seven in the area planned for next year, and will eventually grow to 25 stores in NYC. Packed on too many pounds? Equinox/Blink Fitness has six more locations under construction. Also expanding: Au Bon Pain, Destination XL, Century 21, Fresh Market, Hand & Stone, Kings Markets/Balducci's, and PGA Superstore. Above, hosts Sholom & Zuckerbrot’s Frank Zuckerbrot and The Shopping Center Group’s David Firestein flank Equinox/ Blink Fitness’ Bill Miller.
JLL’s Paul Berkman
Which retailers will be expanding here in 2013? Click the video above to watch JLL retail brokerage EVP Paul Berkman discuss how value and basics will be king in the Big Apple.
Rosa Mexicano co-founder Doug Griebel, Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti, Fourth Wall Restaurants’ president Michael Stillman, Nation’s Restuarant News’ Robin Lee Allen, and Faith Hope Consolo
Restaurant leaders gathered for a discussion on redefining dining, hosted by Prudential Douglas Elliman retail chairman Faith Hope Consolo. Joining Faith (right) were Rosa Mexicano co-founder Doug Griebel, Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti, Fourth Wall Restaurants president Michael Stillman, and Nation’s Restaurant NewsRobin Lee Allen. Landlords are looking for high-end restaurants to bring cachet to their building, says Michael, who’s opening Quality Italian at 57 W 57th. As a restaurateur, you have to elevate what you do and try something new—for Shake Shack, that was going into Westbury, Long Island, one of the busiest restaurants it has opened, and Citi Field. “Experience is everything,” said Robin, pointing to the rebranding of Wendy’s. Most importantly, you have to make your guests feel welcomed and not pressured, says Doug.