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ICSC’s 4 Under 40 look to the future

December 12, 2019

Perhaps those with the longest horizons are best positioned to take the long view.

 So here’s what ICSC’s NextGen 4 Under 40, named thus in August, identified as the keys that will best position companies for the future: adaptability, sticking to the plan and, of course, capital.

“We no longer work in a Field of Dreams. If you build it, they don’t automatically come,” Centennial Real Estate COO of projects Whitney Livingston said during the ICSC New York Deal Making panel titled “What ICSC’s 40 Under 40s Predict for the Future.”

The company now puts nuanced thinking behind its development decisions. “A few years ago, we bought a portfolio of malls from Westfield,” she said. “We thought we were going to just fill those malls. But we have adapted, and now we’re in the development business.” Livingston urged companies to be innovative. “If you innovate, you will rise above,” she said. “Don’t just do it the way that it’s always been. Dare to be different — and focus.”

Joseph Tichar and Whitney Livingston

Shake Shack is adapting to its evolving customers, said director of real estate Carren Ballenger Coston. “In the past couple of years, we’ve had to meet our customers where they are at. That will continue into the next year. We’re investing more in technology and innovations.” Shake Shack is also embedding itself more into its communities to add local flavor, teaming up with local bakers to create treats based on local specialties.

Caren Ballenger Coston

Raider Hill Advisors co-founder, president and COO Joseph Tichar argued that “capital is key, enabling you to partner with the best-in-class opportunities, regardless of the cycle. We have a stable of capital partners to make sure we’re not missing on opportunities.”

Daniel Katz

Katz Properties Retail managing partner and principal Daniel Katz told the audience to “focus, focus, focus.” He advised companies to figure out what they are good at and hold to it. “We buy grocery and anchor shopping centers up and down the East Coast,” he said. “We stick to what we know.” One characteristic is necessary for those following this advice: patience. “Don’t expect everything to come at once,” he said. “Not everything happens in a day.”

By Duke Ratliff

Managing Editor