Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ICSC Tampa – What did you hear?

Yesterday, at the ICSC conference in Tampa, I felt like I was either the smartest person in the room or the dumbest. In most cases, if you’re wondering, I’m the latter. However, I knew that the roughly 700 people in attendance were all thinking the same thing, what am I going to hear that is different than the nightly news? Besides the hard statistics that were presented to us, it was essentially the same as every other day. Companies laying off people, rents being reduced and people just happy to have jobs. I actually heard one tenant say that they wouldn’t pay more than single digit (under $10 per square foot) rent for any of the their new deals.

Whatever the outcome of yesterday’s meetings, there were a lot of people there truly willing to spend some time out of the office. I mean, what else was there to do?

Although, the one bright spot I heard is that Florida is still one of the best growth markets in the country, but lost the coveted “the best” status in 2006. Being in third or fourth place in this market is probably the best thing that could ever happen to the state. Getting a big “slap in the face” that you actually have to know what you’re doing to make money in real estate could be the best thing that ever happened to us.

So, while I contemplated slitting my wrists on the walk to my car after listening to Henry (Hank) Fishkind, Ph.D., a big-time Florida economist, I decided that I wasn’t going to let the “Doom and Gloom” run my life. So I drove to Chick-fil-A and got myself a sweet tea. That always fixes everything. In fact, they should have served them at lunch.

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