I've arrived in Las Vegas, where I'll be blogging the 2005 ICSC Spring Convention. We're working with Retail Traffic Magazine, a unit of Primedia (remember About?) on an SMS service that will return the location if you text 'ICSC' plus the name of the exhibitor to '10958'. Stock symbols work as well.
News from the convention is starting to pour in. GlobeStreet reports that Urban Retail Properties - a longtime powerhouse specializing in luxury retail and so-called fortress malls - has bought out its former owners General Growth Properties, Simon Property Group and Westfield Group for an undisclosed amount. With the sizzling luxury retail marketplace, look to Urban Retail to quickly regain the luster it had before it was acquired by Netherlands-based shopping center company Rodamco, then later sold for $5.3 billion dollars. In the process a governance problem was created where Urban competed for business with its owners, even in new areas like central business districts, strip centers and mixed-use projects.
General Growth Properties is launching 'America's Premier Shopping Places' at forty of its properties, predominantly tourism-oriented properties it picked up in last year's acquisition of The Rouse Company. This appears to be different from the 'GGPremium' program launched at upscale properties such as the Fashion Show in Las Vegas. GGP VP of Marketing Susan Houck designed the program to connect the travel industry and tourists to top shopping destinations through a single source, similar to Rouse's Premier Marketplaces program. (Cathy Kruzik assisted with the program.)
Link: GGP's America's Shopping Places