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Yesterday800 real estate professionals gathered at the Marriott Downtown for the Real Estate Conference Group forecast, where panelists predicted continuing pain, lessening through 2010. JLL's Bruce Miller  opened by citing his concerns for the new year: bank failures, declines in property value and demand, unemployment, Afghanistan, Taylor Swift, his graying beard, and the fact that his wife wants him to eat quinoa. Where to begin?
NAI Hiffman's Michael Flynn, Brennan Investment Group's Michael Brennan, and JLL?s Elaine Melonidas

NAI Hiffman's Michael Flynn, Brennan Investment Group's Michael Brennan,  and JLL?s Elaine Melonidas (also on this panel: John Buck Co.'s Bill Rolander and DP Partners' Andy James). Michael Flynn—already a hero for getting the microphones to work—said he saw a high number of prospective clients looking forward and planning ahead. Elaine feels her tenant clients have the money to relocate instead of continuing to ?pretend and extend,? so she foresees more activity in 2010; but she also predicts it will be five years before we see another new skyscraper downtown.

Wrightwood Capital's David Friedman, First Industrial's Bob Walter, and Sheldon Goode's John Cuticelli

The Private Bank's Karen Case kicked off the financial panel with this gem: Because they'll be examined like never before, landlords will find lending to be like a proctology exam and a root canal at the same time. (Even those who have difficulty with metaphors squirmed in their seat.) Wrightwood Capital's David Friedman (here with First Industrial's Bob Walter, and Sheldon Goode's John Cuticelli) says his company looked at 230 investment opportunties last year but ultimately didn't close on any.