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Now, we don't want to overplay the idea of our headline, but it was nice to hear panelists at our Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze Friday talk about multifamily as a glimmer of hope in the commercial real estate world--well, at least by 2013 given echoboomer demographics.

True, lack of motion was a theme as 215 assembled at the Metropolitan Club on the 66th floor of Willis Tower: talk of no new condo or apartment projects, renters sticking to core neighborhood corridors, and Waterton Residential's Pete Vilim even joking about his children not moving out of the house.

Panelists at Bisnow Chicago event

Pete, center, said his company hasn't bought a new multifamily asset in more than two years, and Golub's Lee Golub, right, hasn't bought one in three-and-a-half, though Golub recently completed two apartment towers, The Streeter  and Streeter Place  in Streeterville, and both are more than 70% leased. Lee says he's seeing more professionals in the rental market, especially in professionally managed buildings. Pete says his company's Presidential Towers is completely packed, and he's surprised that about 20% of the renters sign a lease sight unseen, with help from the Internet. Lee suggested Pete's kids use their smart phones to get a place at The Streeter. HFF's Marty O'Connell  moderated.

Panelists at Bisnow Chicago event on Multifamily

On the morning's second panel, Walker & Dunlop's Michael Katz and CBRE's John Jaeger  stood up for the suburbs, saying they were still seeing apartment sales because some young people were getting jobs outside of the city. @properties' Michael Golden said neighborhoods like Lincoln Park  and Bucktown would remain steady throughout the recession. Greenberg Traurig's Michael Fishman  moderated. The John Buck Company's Kent Swanson said his company was seeing more investors in the marketplace, but a vast majority are new investors getting into multifamily because they understand the rent structure.

Ironwood Real Estate's Gary Kahen, Goby's Chris Happ, Crown Property Group's Peter Vitale, ICG's Nadia Jewsbury and Pircher Nichols & Meeks' Ryan Schaul

Enjoying the show and a few cups of coffee, Ironwood Real Estate's Gary Kahen, Goby's Chris Happ, Crown Property Group's Peter Vitale, ICG's Nadia Jewsbury, and Pircher Nichols & Meeks' Ryan Schaul. Chris's company is working on a new project for CCH using TIF funding  at Peterson and Pulaski. They plan to plant 80 trees on the property to help with LEED-certification. ICG is working on a new LEED office build-out for Aviva at 300 N. LaSalle.

McShane’s Jeffrey Raday hunted networking opportunities with ESC LLC's Scott Bierbaum and Brett Gitskin

McShane Construction's Jeffrey Raday pursued networking opportunities with ESC LLC's Scott Bierbaum and Brett Gitskin. McShane is still marketing its Huntington Woods  project in Hoffman Estates, where they've already done a build-to-suit for Mori Seike. Scott and Brett are engineers working on the Salt Creek levee.

Banner Acquisitions' Thomas Suminski and Kyle Peterson met McShane’s Mark Tritschler

Banner Acquisitions' Thomas Suminski  and Kyle Peterson and McShane’s  Mark Tritschler after the panel. Banner is working on an affordable senior living facility in Waukegan, while Mark offered his company’s services for the construction. (They're breaking ground soon, so he may have to catch the next project.) Earlier, Michael Katz identified the city as a bastion for young Midwestern college grads, while Kent Swanson said he sees fewer people, maybe 60-62%, owning homes in the area in the future. John Jaeger said it will all depend on the Asian carp situation. (Note, this is not a reference to what we served for breakfast.)