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Reflecting on ICSC Florida Conference and Deal-Making After Irma

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Just two weeks ago, the OppSites team was in Florida for the International Council of Shopping Center’s Florida Conference & Deal Making. Since returning from Orlando, ideas for how to speak of this Conference have shifted due to Hurricane Irma. Sixty-five cities gratefully informed us of their safety and their desire to begin rebuilding their communities. As a member of the Beacon Council shared, “We [Florida residents] are a resilient people”. The strength and bravery shown by these city leaders is inspiring and reinforces why OppSites aims to connect cities with real estate professionals. I experienced the same resilient spirit at ICSC FL just weeks before and wanted to share the energy in how we can work together to rebuild, whether it be shopping centers, housing or hospitals.

At ICSC, there were 13 cities exhibiting, all with a common goal to attract more development to their community. The majority had existing spaces in need of retail tenants and traveled to Orlando to meet with specific retailers. The most sought after meetings were with retailers that would complement nearby businesses and bring the community back into ghosted shopping centers. Few of the cities I met with said they were searching for anchor retailers.

While the need for development has likely moved beyond retail, an important and noticeable development theme was mixed use projects integrated with retail. Also popular, but less publicized was every City’s need for Affordable Housing. Economic Development leaders at the City of Fort Lauderdale said that the City is booming with housing development but is looking to target housing for median income residents. (Due to Fort Lauderdale’s popularity, housing for the median income is classified as Affordable Housing.)

As the state focuses on rebuilding post-Irma, OppSites is helping to attract broad types of development in numerous Florida cities. OppSites Marketplace enables cities such as Hollywood and Dania Beach to share their development sites on a tablet. With one-click, cities can have their development sites readily shareable, as witnessed at ICSC. OppSites Matchmaker connects cities with developers interested in their community. They can message in real-time to energize development projects and improve the flow of development information. OppSites iFrame provides cities with a tool to showcase their community and attract new development on their webpage. City leaders are choosing to embed the iFrame in order to show-off their development sites to the City’s website visitors. OppSites iFrame embedding is now available for every OppSites listing org. For example, the City of Cocoa, FL’s site views quadrupled just two weeks after integrating OppSites iFrame on their website.

All of us at OppSites were deeply touched by the commitment to rebuild Florida communities after Hurricane Irma, and I am personally excited about the possibilities. Whether in affordable housing or mixed-use projects we can work together to rebuild these places together. We are happy to be a part of this conversation. Join in today and build the future of Florida.