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January 15, 2010 
 
 
 
Monday (1440 Broadway) -
 
A TO ZELL

Take advantage of our low price to see three of the country’s leading figures in capital markets take on the topic at our next Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze: the future of credit, construction financing, and the CMBS market. PennerSonnenblick, and Portner. One morning only. Jan 26, NY Bar Association. Sign up now!

 
Who could pack the Union League Club at 7:30 am? Billionaire entrepreneur Sam Zell and industry strategist Dr. Peter Linneman, in town yesterday morn for a candid Q&A hosted by ULI New York.
 
Sam Zell and Dr. Peter Linneman

Sam, left, discussed many topics, with focus on the economy. He says Americans are adjusting on the banking side, as days of free money are over. The recapitalization of the banking system is no different than the early ‘90s, but we have to make sure it works. Banks using deposits for trade business is unconscionable and should not be part of the system, he says—instead, use hedge funds. Fannie and Freddie once didn’t own subprime (meaning “can’t pay it back,” Sam quipped) debt, but became caught in the massive artificial demand. However, multifamily will come out okay.

Peter and Sam with new chapter prez Richard Kessler of Benenson Capital Partners and Meridian Development's Howard Weitzman. Sam continues: TARP was conceptually important into rebuilding confidence, but we need to distinguish between the TARP steps and the follow-ups that wasted money. The biggest inflation risk is four years out, he says, pointing out that it was 13.3% in ’68, yet everyone has heart attacks over 2% today; however, chain supply inflation is significant. Instead of investing in the new, look at debt and non-US emerging markets, he urges. He’s more optimistic on debt than equity, and adds that the beauty of an open system is opportunities outside of real estate.


LINDENBAUM’S TURNAROUND

 
Kramer Levin land use counsel Sandy Lindenbaum
Kramer Levin land use counsel Sandy Lindenbaum, recipient of next week’s REBNY Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award, is seeing activity, and now he’s moving forward to get approvals finished for the market turnaround. His recent projects include Weill Cornell Medical College, Central Synagogue’s enlargement, and a major approval for the Hines/MoMA building on 53rd. He also works heavily with artistic non-profits, from MoMA to Carnegie Hall. Fun fact: his family has a namesake arts building at Riverdale Country School, where his wife, children, and grandchildren attended (and he holds an honorary diploma). For tickets to REBNY’s 114th annual banquet, see the ad to the right.

NJ OFFICE: A LEVEL ‘10

 

Why did we snap this photo of clouds breaking over NJ? Both Cushman & Wakefield and JLL have just released their Q4 office stats, and things are looking sunnier. The takeaways: in some local markets, companies are taking advantage of discounted rates by relocating and expanding, says C&W’s Gil Medina. Northern NJ’s vacancy rate decreased from 17.3% to 16.9%, and leasing activity should remain balanced through ’10. JLL's take: It’s possible the market has reached bottom, and vacancy will level this year. Asking rents should continue to slip, albeit at a slower pace, and market conditions will remain favorable for tenants.


UNAUTHORIZED
 
Author Ben Johnson

Speaking of Sam Zell, our Dallas reporter met with author Ben Johnson, who wrote an unauthorized biography, Money Talks, Bullsh*t Walks, on one of history’s greatest contrarian investors. He says Sam is full of colorful quotes (of which there were plenty at the ULI event). Bisnow snapped Ben with his book at a Plano bookstore. Released last week, it recounts Sam's life as an entrepreneur, illustrating how he built his $5B real estate empire and then became one of the most hated men in the media after the acquisition and subsequent bankruptcy of Tribune Co.


UPCOMING EVENTS
 

January 26 - Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze - Capital Markets -Penner, Sonnenblick, and Portner talk the future of credit, construction financing, and the CMBS market, among other issues. NY Bar Association, crazy low price. Info

 

What’s your ’10 outlook? Let amanda@bisnow.com know.

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