As a planner and consultant with a focus on downtown retail environments, I have always found membership in the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) of incredible value. Over the years I have used the network, training and professional development available through ICSC to gain great insight into how and why shoppers behave the way they do, and these insights have been invaluable to me in understanding how and why some downtown’s function well as retail districts, and why others don’t.

My understanding of the value of ICSC has only deepened as I have participated as a volunteer leader with ICSC’s Alliance Program. The program is an effort to support and enhance public-private partnership, or “P3 Retail” efforts. The need for increased understanding between the public, private and non-profit sectors is indisputable. The retail real estate industry is increasingly looking towards urban sites – and those sites are frequently encumbered or more difficult to assemble. They are also often mired in political challenges, require negotiations, gap financing and incentives, not to mention permitting and approvals that demand public sector understanding of what retail needs to be successful. This is why I am such an advocate for greater public sector engagement in ICSC.

As the New York  Eastern Division Co-Chair for the ICSC Alliance Program, and as Chair of the New York Deal Making Municipalities Sub-Committee, I have been working with an amazing group of ICSC colleagues to develop more robust programming for public and non-profit sector industry professionals, beginning with the ICSC New York National Deal Making forum in December 2015. See below for a short clip on why Deal Making is what one participant calls “a prerequisite for anybody who is doing business in the retail real estate arena.” I couldn’t agree more with that statement.

I will also be posting information about upcoming ICSC educational webinars for public/non-profit sector professionals so please be sure to check back for more info. (Psst…if you sign up for our free newsletter on this page, you’ll get a quarterly update on all things related to downtown retail in your inbox!).

Thanks all – we’ll keep you posted as events get scheduled!

– Larisa