Mary Lou Fiala, president and COO of Jacksonville-based Regency Centers, will take over the chair of the International Council of Shopping Centers at its May convention in Las Vegas. She spoke with Real Estate Florida during a recent ICSC conference in Hollywood about her upcoming tenure.

ReFla: With economic challenges ahead, is this bad timing for you to become ICSC chair?

Fiala: It’s not going to be as easy as it has been. We’ve been in a cycle for almost the past decade of upward sales, upward trends in terms of occupancy, rent growth and all those wonderful things. I believe over time there will be more retail bankruptcies and a slight decline in occupancy in most portfolios, and not the kind of rent growth we have had.

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