Retail brokers across the country are packing their parkas and their skis in anticipation of one of the most important retail industry events of the year: ICSC Whistler.
The annual conference, which runs Jan. 21-23, brings together retail professionals, industry experts and brand representatives from across Canada. The event sets the tone for the year ahead, spotlighting new ideas, trends and leasing opportunities in the fast-paced retail industry.
We spoke to CBRE’s retail experts about their plans for this year’s event, their predictions for retail in 2024 and their fondest memories from previous ICSC Whistler events. Here’s what Vancouver’s Adrian Beruschi, Calgary’s John Moss and Toronto’s Kate Camenzuli had to say.
What are you looking to get out of ICSC this year?
Camenzuli: I am not booking 30-minute slots back-to-back, but rather a meaningful amount of time with people with whom I want to build relationships and business. I’m excited to see friends and have meaningful conversations with people I don’t see often.
Beruschi: I’m hoping to determine what 2024 will look like. Not just from a retail trends perspective, but also in terms of discovering fresh ideas and gauging the optimism levels for the year ahead.
Moss: I’m looking to network with business associates, nurture relationships and initiate deals that will make an impact on our local and national markets.
What will be top of mind for you at ICSC?
Moss: Trying to understand the mindset of the retail client. What are they struggling with? How can we, as brokers, better help them execute on their strategies?
Camenzuli: Partnership, strategy and innovation.
Beruschi: Lease and interest rates.
Why does ICSC Whistler matter?
Beruschi: It’s three-fold. It sets the tone for the year in commercial real estate, it showcases Western Canada and it’s a chance to have some valuable face time with clients and colleagues.
Camenzuli: It’s an opportunity for people to come together. Commercial real estate is not just about buildings, it’s about people. ICSC Whistler gives us an opportunity to develop relationships, old and new.
Moss: ICSC Whistler is about resetting the clock. It’s about initiating your team strategy for the year and engaging with the retail industry.
What do retailers need to know about opportunities in your market?
Camenzuli: In Toronto, it’s all about strategic growth. Pick your advising partner well as we set the stage for a period of growth and change in 2024.
Beruschi: Metro Vancouver is such a unique retail landscape and great opportunities can be fleeting. Retailers will need to act fast and pursue those opportunities with conviction.
Moss: Calgary is the most dynamic market in Canada. Retail continues to thrive with a strong economy and record migration. Now is the time to make a move because Calgary is not slowing down.
What’s your favourite ICSC Whistler memory?
Camenzuli: A special Sunday dinner at Sushi Village. We had all our friends and partners together in one place, enjoying a meal and having a great time.
Moss: Blowing my ACL on 7th Heaven (ski run), skiing with clients, then having to walk the conference floor heavily medicated.
Beruschi: My first ICSC deal. It was for a 5,000 sq. ft. Swiss Chalet lease in Langley, BC with Grosvenor as the landlord. They are long gone from the property, but that was a good win for the development at the time.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Whistler?
Camenzuli: Après Ski! There’s nothing like cozying up with a hot beverage after hitting the slopes.
Beruschi: Steep lines, jumping cliffs, crushing deals and of course, Après Ski!
Moss: Ponying up at the Amsterdam Café & Pub patio and watching the world go by. I have great memories of decompressing with associates and friends after a grueling day on the conference floor and before heading out to client receptions and dinners!
What are you hoping to see in retail in 2024?
Beruschi: Optimism. Retail has had its share of challenges over the past few years, so I am hoping to see confidence in the retail market make a comeback.
Moss: A stable labour force, lower construction costs and interest rates, the impact of the CEBA loans and continued interest in Calgary.
Come find CBRE at booth #202 in Fairmont Chateau Whistler on January 22 and 23, 2024.
See you there!
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