Chad Emerson and KC Conway to Speak at ICSC’s 2018 Gulf South Conference

Chad Emerson President and CEO of Huntsville’s Downtown Huntsville Inc and KC Conway Director of Research and Corporate Engagement at the Alabama Center for Real Estate and Chief Economist at the CCIM Institute will speak at the International Council of Shopping Center’s 2018 Gulf South Conference in New Orleans February 28 – March 2.

The conference will shine a light on the positive outlook for retail development and the economy in the Gulf South, discuss the future look of downtown development in the southeast and explore potential real estate opportunities under the new tax guidelines.

Emerson will serve as a panelist on ICSC’s Downtown Development Discussion alongside Mary Helmer (President Main Street Consultants), Andrew Rothfeder (President Studer Properties), and Kurt Weigel (President and CEO Downtown Development District of New Orleans).

He and the other panelists will share tactics on creating synergy between local government and existing and emerging downtown retailers.

“In Alabama, sales tax is a large part of cities’ budgets so successful retail is a win-win for the public and the private side.  One way that cities can encourage retail success is by allowing flexibility and innovation where the private space and the public space meet.  This includes outdoor dining, signage, facade design and the like.  Attractive retail exteriors can help attract customers in a big way,” says Emerson.

Emerson continues proffering that it is important to rely on empirical data when making efforts to expand a downtown’s retail presence.

“Don’t recruit retail on a hunch or based on what you think would be cool. Instead, approach it strategically from an empirical perspective that measures real demand.  A downtown may ‘want’ a certain type of retailer but, if there is not a proven demand for that retail type, even if you can recruit them to open, they are unlikely to succeed,” says Emerson.

Later that afternoon KC Conway will serve as the keynote speaker, detailing and analyzing new, innovative development trends across the country.

Conway will pay special attention to unconventional mixed use concepts that combine conventional retail and multifamily mixed use with contemporary industries such as logistics and fulfillment.

“Mesquite, Texas recently designed one of the most innovative mixed-use projects by including a logistics component in the mix. FedEx opened a $100 million, 365,000-square-foot logistics and fulfillment facility in an old mall. The development is driving retail back to the area and housing a select few in the same quarters. Jobs drive retail, so it’s only logical to start moving hot industries like logistics and fulfillment into these mixed-use spaces,” says Conway.

Emerson and Conway will share their insight with conference attendees on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at The Roosevelt in New Orleans. For more information about the conference visit:

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