The Trade Exposition at ICSC's RECon will look a little different from years past. Just as the Leasing Mall grew last year, the Trade Expo will get a bump this year, filling twice as much space as a year ago.

To fill all that room, about 1,000 exhibitors will take part in the Expo, which will open Sunday, May 18 and close May 20 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Its expanded footprint of 270,000 square feet, double the size of 2007's, will put on display the latest retail real estate-related products and services ranging from canine security patrols to new green products such as solar powered lights, recycled countertops and energy-efficient windows.

“We find that the ICSC show is an important place to meet our existing and past clients, as well as find new client prospects,” says Michael Semeraro, a principal at Elmwood Park, N.J.-based Langan Engineering & Environmental Services. “But most importantly, it is a way to get the message of our company's culture out to prospective clients.” The cornerstone of that culture is that the firm is about serving its clients, and providing a rapid response to help clients ranging from General Growth Properties to Home Depot move through approval and entitlement processes as quickly as possible, Semeraro says.

Langan, a full-service engineering and environmental services firm, will also be showcasing its work on notable projects such as Meadowlands Xanadu. The proposed five-million-square-foot mixed-use project in East Rutherford, N.J., will be anchored by the Meadowlands Sports Complex. Langan is providing site and civil engineering, project management and landscape architecture permit plans, as well as performing a comprehensive geotechnical analysis.

Such brownfield redevelopment projects have become mainstream today, notes Ronald Fuerst, a principal at Langan. Brownfield development and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified projects are a niche for Langan, which has 17 LEED-accredited professionals on staff. “LEED-certified projects and green development are not just buzzwords. It's the accepted way of doing development today,” notes Fuerst.

Blue Back Square in West Hartford, Conn., is another regeneration of a brownfield site designed by Langan. The urban redevelopment with its new streetscape and decorative lighting is a key part of the downtown's expansion of town facilities, open public spaces and new retail with nationally recognized tenants.

Security services

Exhibitors, including IPC International, are capitalizing on the larger Trade Expo and expanding their booths. The Bannockburn, Ill.-based security services firm has doubled the size of its space to a 20-foot by 20-foot booth, that will enable IPC, which provides security services to more than 450 shopping centers in the U.S., to introduce attendees to the latest technologies and services from all three of its companies — IPC International, IPC Technologies and Uniformity Inc.

IPC International will also be promoting its advanced training programs for personnel, as well as risk-management programs for shopping centers. “That is a platform we have had for a number of years, but we have made a number of improvements,” says Ken Hamilton, executive vice president at IPC International.

For example, within the last 12 months, IPC International has launched a canine unit. The dogs and their handlers can be used for bomb detection and general patrols, as well as large events and celebrity appearances. The units are already deployed in several markets, including Florida, Illinois and Georgia.

Uniformity, a supplier of police and emergency responders' uniforms and equipment, will display its Segway and T3 mobile patrol units during RECon. While many may be familiar with the upright Segway, the T3 is a compact, three-wheel version featuring a zero-degree turning radius that can reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour. “The T3 and Segway add a high level of visibility to our officers, and allow them to be more mobile and cover a large area,” Hamilton says.

IPC Technologies will showcase a variety of advances in its closed-circuit TV and alarm systems. “CCTV has existed for decades, but new advancements make it an important addition to manned security patrols these days,” Hamilton says. The CCTV cameras can now be programmed to issue an alert if an object that the camera is pointed on moves. The alarm capability makes the system much more efficient, because the monitors no longer require constant supervision. In addition, shopping center managers can access the images via their desktop computer to monitor a large event or observe maintenance services, including, for example, snow removal.

Carts and kiosks

At its booth in the Trade Expo, Dallas-based Creations Global Retail will showcase three new long-lasting retail merchandising units (RMUs) — the Mona, Nautilus and the Shanghai-A. The Shanghai-A is a new product, produced in China, and now available to customers in the United States.

It features a wood veneer and metal construction with a cantilevered canopy. “Aesthetically, they are gorgeous. But they are also built for a lower price point,” says Jac Crawford, chief operating officer at Creations Global Retail. The target markets for the units are class-B and class-C centers. In addition, its compact size allows it to be packaged efficiently, which lowers its shipping costs.

The Nautilus RMU takes its name from its seashell design. Its unique features incorporate lots of curves blended into soft edges. By contrast, the Mona is a classic, linear design with square corners. “There is a lot of pressure on developers now to maximize revenues,” Crawford says. “So it is important to have great-looking products, but also have value. That's what we're working very hard to provide.”

Software enhancements

Yardi Systems, a provider of investment, asset and property management software solutions will present a variety of new products and demonstrate their expanded capabilities during RECon 2008.

“We are very excited about introducing the ICSC audience to Yardi Voyager's slick new automation features, as well as recovery calculations features that are dramatically improving the lives of users in the retail market,” says Terri Dowen, a senior vice president of sales at Yardi Systems.

Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Yardi will also spotlight SiteStuff, a procurement solution for commercial real estate companies.?“SiteStuff was recently acquired by Yardi and offers tremendous value when converting to green practices and sustainability,” Dowen says. “Our clients are thrilled about a service that will help them go green, and we think the ICSC audience will find this valuable and surprisingly easy as well.”

Touting its most recent software development in geographic information system (GIS) technology, ESRI Inc., based in Redlands, Calif., will demonstrate its ArcGIS Business Analyst Server solution. The latest version combines GIS technology with extensive business, demographic and consumer spending analytics that provide users with a comprehensive “geointelligence” business solution.

The previous version of ArcGIS Business Analyst was a very popular desktop application. “We are now putting that functionality onto the server, because so many people want to put location intelligence into their existing workflow and analysis,” says Simon Thompson, commercial sector manager for ESRI.

Now, with the application on the server, users can implement ArcGIS Business Analyst as a collaborative tool to produce customized reports instead of predetermined business analysis. For example, a retailer can build a model to evaluate a site, and share it with colleagues nationwide who require access to the analysis and research methods.

ESRI will also be demonstrating the enhanced integration capabilities of its facilities management software. Previously, the financial package and the facilities management functions were separate. “Now we can combine all of that data and analysis,” says Thompson. He adds, the integration, gives users a more “holistic view” of a property from both the financial/asset management and facilities management sides.

And, ESRI will be exhibiting its Business Analyst Online Europe, a Web-based product that is an extension of its U.S. offering. In the next year, ESRI plans to expand the software to include Eastern Europe, Australia and parts of Southeast Asia.

Site intellect

Pitney Bowes is enhancing its MapInfo product to meet clients' increasing mapping and data needs in three key areas — international, local and market repositioning. “What we're trying to do is respond to a very challenging marketplace right now,” says Devon Wolfe, managing director of Americas strategy and predictive analytics for retail, restaurants and real estate at Pitney Bowes MapInfo.

The MapInfo platform features include a number of tools that address those integral needs. The Troy, N.Y.-headquartered firm is continuing to broaden its database in foreign countries with its AnySite mapping product that offers clients detailed market analysis. AnySite is available in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. It is scheduled to be launched in Germany, Spain and New Zealand this spring. “Retailers can now get the same information they are used to seeing in the U.S. for other countries in a familiar product,” Wolfe says.

MapInfo is also leveraging a new partnership with the Gadberry Group to provide clients with high-quality demographic data on a quarterly basis. The information offers a snapshot of where new growth is occurring in the United States. The relationship is significant for two reasons, notes Wolfe. The data available from the 2000 U.S. census is dated and as housing growth has stalled in many areas of the country it has become increasingly more difficult to identify the growth markets.

“We are also very excited about a Web portal we are putting together that will give us the capability to put all of our services out over a Web platform over the next year,” Wolfe says. MapInfo will feature the Web applications at their booth in the Trade Expo to demonstrate to potential customers what will soon be available via their desktop PC.

Laying the foundation

Nichiha will unveil its new fiber cement product, the CutStone. They are prefabricated nine-foot square panels, featuring a cut stone facade with a “ship lap,” that recreates a monolithic exterior when assembled. It looks seamless as panels are laid side by side. The product has a slight overage on the panel that covers that small seam when it adjoins another panel. “That overage creates an exterior that looks seamless,” says Darrin Haugan, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Nichiha.

Atlanta-based Nichiha produces high-quality fiber cement products available in 10 patterns and 35 color options. The panels offer an advantage over natural stone because they can be put up much quicker. “This product gives the semblance of a stacked stone look in a panel mode,” Haugan says. Although the panels are typically used for exteriors, they can be used as interior wall coverings. In conjunction with the CutStone product, Nichiha will debut a line of accessories, including architectural stone, trim and moldings to complement CutStone.

Visionaire Lighting will debut a new line of fixtures named Aria. The product line includes site, pedestrian walkway, post and wall-mounted lighting and bollards that have a complementary matching design. “It gives an aesthetic appeal during the day, but also during the night; with the great reflectors in that series,” says Joe Kay, vice president of sales at Visionaire Lighting in Rancho Dominguez, Calif.

Visionaire has a patented reflector that is unique in the industry, which allows shopping center owners to reduce glare and spread poles out further because of the way the light is dispersed. A manufacturer of high-performance, specification-grade outdoor lighting, Visionaire has a wide selection of Dark Sky approved fixtures.

The Aria product line includes green lighting options with an LED light source, as well as traditional options such as fluorescent and digital induction. “These are very efficient fixtures that are also compliant with Dark Sky,” Kay says.

Architectural design

The Cleveland-based architecture firm of Dorsky Hodgson Parrish Yue (DHPY) will have design boards on display at RECon showcasing several of its recent projects, including SouthShore Commons in Tampa and Saddle Creek in Memphis.

Saddle Creek, a one-million-square-foot mixed-use development is situated on 58 acres. “This project brings an urban solution to a suburban area, and it ties into the city's smart growth plan,” says Alex Espinosa, a partner with DHPY. The firm is the executive architect on the project, which is set to begin construction later this year. The project design features a variety of discernible zones that blend different uses such as retail, entertainment and office space into a pedestrian-friendly environment.

In Tampa, SouthShore Commons is a 1.5-million-square-foot mixed-use project combining retail, entertainment, office and hotels. “We have designed our project around a coastal casual theme,” says David Parrish, a partner with DHPY. “At each turn and vista in the project, the visitor will be drawn to some differentiating element.”

DHPY uses graphics, design elements and landscaping to achieve the coastal theme. “Developers are really looking to keep elegance in the design and maintain high standards of quality even with this value-oriented market that we're in right now,” Parrish says.

GREEN ZONE

New to this year's Trade Expo is the Green Zone. The 16,000-square-foot exhibit showcases vendors marketing sustainable products and services.

“Going green will be a major theme of this year's convention as many shopping center developers and retailers are finding the benefits of sustainability and are putting more green programs into place,” says an ICSC spokesperson. The Green Zone is an extension of the Green Pavilion, which made its debut last year in the Leasing Mall.

ICSC will also publish and distribute its first green-oriented publication at the conference that will highlight green shopping centers from around the world.

Olathe, Kan.-based Terracon, a provider of environmental construction materials is one of approximately 100 firms housed within the Green Zone. “We're getting more involved with projects that are LEED-certified or highlight new methods of sustainability,” says Kevin Langwell, senior vice president of client development at Terracon. “I believe that sustainability and the green movement is more than a trend; but a development standard that is here to stay.”

Terracon, which recently provided construction materials testing and observation services for a new Whole Foods Market in Glastonbury, Conn., has six employees who have obtained LEED accreditation, and another 24 are in the process of receiving the credential. The LEED-certification process often requires changes to the overall scope of the work in terms of geotechnical engineering and construction testing, says Langwell. For instance, if a building is adding a more sustainable heating and cooling system under the structure, there are some additional factors to be taken into consideration as to how the building load could affect any underground systems.

The introduction of the Green Zone and the increasing number of green exhibitors is a reflection of the growing trend for sustainable design elements in the retail sector. “What I'm seeing is there are a lot of mandates being pushed down from the chief executive saying that a certain percentage of new construction going forward will be LEED certified,” says Patrick O'Brien, director of business development at O'Brien & Associates Architecture.

Dallas-based O'Brien & Associates offers sustainability consulting to both developers and retailers. “Over 50 percent of our clients are at least interested in learning more about LEED certification, and the demand for those services is correlated with how much we educate our clients,” O'Brien says.

O'Brien & Associates offers its clientele expertise from a growing track record of sustainable projects such as Fairlane Green in Detroit. The firm served as lead architect on the 450,000-square-foot first phase of a 105-acre retail power center. Fairlane Green is the largest landfill redevelopment project in Michigan and the largest in the country for retail use.

The project, developed by Irving, Texas-based Archon Group, a Goldman Sachs Group subsidiary, opened in late 2005 and received a gold-level LEED certification in 2006. The project features a variety of sustainable features such as site irrigation from storm water retention ponds, reduced energy consumption through white reflective roofing and high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment.