Our own New Jersey is one of the most active retail construction hubs in the US with roughly 4 million square feet of projects in the Northern region alone. With an increase from 19.2% to 23.1% of malls going experiential in non-retail and non-restaurant space in shopping centers, this has some major implications for general contractors present in retail concepts’ pre/post construction activity.

What are American consumers seeking when they depart from their sofa to a brick and mortar setting? What is going to make that time spent as impactful as possible? At the other end of the equation, how are local retail developers ensuring they are forming ties with retailers that won’t “fizzle out” from a consumer shift in taste?

These questions among others are all inquiries the ICSC Conference does a nice job of approaching. Next week, the Old Forge team will be taking on the New York Deal Making event, and we certainly have all these discussions lingering since the Philly conference this past summer.

The adaptive reuse trend is a conversation that I’m interested to hear how it has evolved in a few short months since the last ICSC panel I’ve sat in on. Some construction firms have their sights on solely new builds, however in 2019 (especially in the NJ/PA markets), it seems there is a large portion of renovations and updates to existing structures that have closed from a previous “big-box” operation. Something needs to occupy all that space being made available. An architect I met recently has seen a tremendous bulk of business from previous Kmart stores being transitioned into self-storage facilities. Anything is possible.

If you’re also attending the NY ICSC conference on December 10-12 this year, let’s continue the dialogue over coffee and seek avenues we can work together.

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