Fredericksburg, VA (02-26-15) – As the first major commercial real estate conference of the year, the ICSC Mid-Atlantic Conference provides an initial outlook on the retail market for the New Year. The conference was held at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, MD. The surprise snow storm couldn’t hamper the morale or attendance at this year’s conference.
Nearly 2,000 people attended the conference including brokers, developers, attorneys, engineers, and most importantly retailers. Over the past few years the mood at this event was cloaked with dismay brought on by the “Great Recession”….but not this year.
There was a stark difference in the mood of this year’s event. Brian Cunningham with Coldwell Banker Commercial Elite summed it up well by saying, “This year’s conference had a different feel from previous years. The mood was upbeat, positive, and optimistic.”
The conference featured the “Retailers’ Runway” series which highlights retailers who are new or expanding in the Virginia, District of Columbia and Maryland Regions. Retailers that attended included: Harris Teeter, Zaxby’s, Zoe’s Kitchen, Jersey Mikes, Subway, Roy Rogers, Ahold-Giant, Sheetz, Wawa, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Pet Valu, among many others.
The ICSC Mid-Atlantic Conference not only provides an opportunity to meet with retailers but also offers a significant opportunity for commercial real estate agents, brokers, developers and economic development agencies to inform retailers and each other of potential opportunities in their market. Heather Hagerman with Coldwell Banker Commercial Elite discussed how the overall direction of the event was one of growth and progression, rather than the freeze witnessed over the past few years. “Projects and sites that may have been turned down in the past were now being highly considered and even approved,” Hagerman said.
The region is too far south often times to be considered part of the Northern Virginia trade area and too far north to be considered a part of the Richmond trade area. Therefore, there has been somewhat of a struggle of educating the retailers then convincing them of the unique characteristics that make our region so appealing.
Seven team members with Coldwell Banker Commercial Elite, (who displayed the largest brokerage presence representing the Fredericksburg Region) attended the conference, along with local Economic Development professionals ensuring that the Fredericksburg Region and the firm’s Clients were very well represented.
Economic Development Authority “Ambassadors” – Chairman Joel Griffin and Howard Owen accompanied by Rick Cobert, Stafford EDA’s Business Development Administrator, from the Stafford County’s Economic Development Authority held back-to-back meetings with retailers, brokers, and developers at the ICSC Deal Making Conference.
“We continue our Retail Attraction Initiative for the third year at National Harbor, and are making significant progress in gaining their attention (and investment). Defining themes at the conference matched Stafford’s goal: “Develop retail as a place, and establish “Quality of Place.” This is the ongoing vision of the Stafford community,” Rick Cobert, stated.
A growing realization made clear at the conference is that retailers are not only conveying interest, but are more knowledgeable of our region. “In meeting with these potential retailers, what stood out was how well versed many of the retailers are becoming on the Fredericksburg market. They were able to speak with us in great detail about the area and in some cases were able to discuss cross streets and market statistics,” Carl Braun expressed.
Brian Cunningham voiced a similar sentiment: “Fredericksburg and its surrounding localities are no longer an afterthought at a big DC event, but more so, an area of great opportunity that they want to capitalize on and expand their offerings to” he said.
It is an inevitable fact that growth is moving south from D.C. into our Region. As rooftops are being added, and job growth is strong, the demand for retail will continue to grow. While demand for retail grows, so will the importance of promoting the Region as a destination to fill that demand.
Jonathan Gardner, a Fredericksburg native and agent with Coldwell Banker Commercial Elite, expressed the importance of attending these events and promoting our region.
“We attend these events not only to best represent our client’s properties and network with industry professionals but to represent the community that we love. Our hearts are invested in the Fredericksburg community and is demonstrated with the passion in which we support the area,” he said.
Patrick Baden, Commercial Marketing Manager
540.785.3371 | Pbaden@cbecommercial.com
About Coldwell Banker Commercial Elite
Coldwell Banker Commercial Elite provides brokerage services, property management and development consulting for commercial real estate throughout Virginia and the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.Coldwell Banker Commercial Elite is a premier provider of real estate services and is a leader in the local and state commercial real estate industry. Our network of brokers serves the needs of owners and occupiers in the leasing, acquisition, disposition, structured finance and management of all property types.