For the past 5 years, the Real Estate & Construction industries have been devastated by declining property values, lack of available funding, and lack of new potential development opportunities due to the downtrodden economy. During this time period, I attended many national and regional conferences in association with The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Attendance and overall attendee spirit has been down in virtually all since 2009. It seemed that everything was going wrong and was going to continue going wrong. People, in general, are very linear thinkers and when things are going great, and business is booming, the mindset is that things will ALWAYS continue to rise. The converse is true too, however. When things are bad, folks tend to think that it will always be bad. Like any cycle, the change is slow; almost invisible to the naked eye. Last week I spent several days at Florida’s ICSC conference in Orlando and got to experience what may be considered somewhat of a revival in the real estate and construction market in Florida. The conference was very well attended with roughly 15 percent more attendees this year over last. The mood was light and cheerful and had people talking about projects and new development moving forward, not only in the Southeast but in Florida. Could this be the start of a new linear pattern of thinking for Florida? I have several friends and colleagues who are contractors in the Southeast and they have been experiencing the same phenomena over the past 6-8 months, seeing new developments and new ideas from developers and owners alike looking to expand into new territories and/or renovate what they already had. This is reminiscent of my experiences in the early 2000’s in Florida before the big boom. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not predicting the next big boom is on the way, but I am indicating that signs and the mood, if nothing else, is on the mend. Linear thinkers, visionaries or just plain delusional? I can’t say for sure, but the mood was fantastic, and when the mood is positive, people start moving forward, things start getting done, and people look for ways to create deals and create wealth, instead of simply trying to protect what they have left. Superstition has one believe that the number 13 is bad luck, however based on what I saw this year at the Florida ICSC convention, ‘13 maybe the turnaround point for all of our fortunes. So, let’s keep our fingers crossed, rabbits foot in our pockets, and pray everybody keeps moving forward in a positive direction!