From “The sky is falling” to “Show me the deals,” developers, investors and brokers have expressed the gamut of what may occur in the months ahead. While the one point that is a certainty remains in the forefront of everyone’s minds, DEBT, this year’s International Council of Shopping Centers convention in May proved that the market trends, quite simply, are different.

The annual Las Vegas gathering, the Mecca of retail networking and dealmaking, proved once again that there are a number of opinions and business models that may all be highly warranted in this market. We can use our analogies, metaphors and cliché remarks through this market period, but one theme remained constant in Vegas: We all have to think differently, we have to act differently and we have to react differently. It’s a new day in the investment world and professionals are slowly starting to respond to the reality of the market.

ICSC reported that it had over 43,000 registrants at this year’s conference. However, the tone of the exhibit halls was drastically different than in recent years. It was palpably quieter than 2007, and access to the exhibit booths was more readily available. Popping in to say hello to an old friend was a regular occurrence this year, whereas appointments were mandatory the last couple of years. Conversations lasted longer, more substantive information was conveyed and—surprise, surprise—people actually got some work done.

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