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First Potomac expects to close on a Columbia office purchasenext month, CFO Barry Bass told us this morning. And we'll prod him about it tomorrow, when he headlines our Bisnow Baltimore Capital Markets summit at the Hilton, with Northwestern Mutual'sEric Ekeroth, M&T Realty Capital's Arnold Smeenk, Prudential Mortgage Capital's Bryan McDonnell, Walker & Dunlop's Tyler Blue, and Ballard Spahr's Tom Hauser, plus other financial aces.Last chance to sign up — see you there!
Barry Bass
Barry (and his CEO Doug Donatelli bobblehead) says that deal is allFirst Potomac money, but among the REIT's other Baltimore-Washington Corridor properties are JVs with AEW in the Columbia and BWI submarkets. Across the Baltimore metro, First Potomac's portfolio numbers 1.5M SF, though it has properties in the northern 'burbs on the market. ING Investment Management's Mike Cale tells us Baltimore is close enough to the center of the universe (i.e. DC) to get some attention from value-oriented investors. The economy isn't enough to scare them away from Baltimore, just enough to make them picky. ING isn't going to do a 70% LTV deal on suburban office here, for instance, but grocery-anchored retail vacancies remain in the safe zone, and Timonium multifamily is among the areas worth a look.

Anirban Basu, Bill Whitty, and John Black on Oct. 6, 2011
MacKenzie Capital's John Black (right, with Sage Policy Group'sAnirban Basu and MacKenzie's Bill Whitty at a recent MacKenzie client conference) told us this morning his group has been busy withrecaps of maturing loans. There's less liquidity in the market and financing is more stringent, so they're finding new equity where they can and doing their best to re-establish the rest of the debt piece on those deals. Of course, first mortgage lenders are a lot more conservative than when the deals were first originated and we face more challenging leasing markets and potential value adjustments. In Baltimore, equity is coming mostly from private investors like local,high-net-worth individuals, but John has also found some success with "duality investors" like general contractors and property managers (and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde) that use the deals to add to their portfolio of core services.
Morris Segall, May 2011
SPG Trend Advisors prez Morris Segall (above, speaking at aBisnow event in May) will keynote. The good news first: The imminence of a double-dip recession has been pushed back at least through the end of the year, the capital markets deserve a medal for their October performance compared to Q3, and the Europeans seem to be serious about solving their debt problem. If a solution comes from EU leaders' meeting tomorrow, it'll lift a largeanvil off the world capital markets. Either way, it does look like the continent faces a recession next year. The US recovery, Morris says, is in the hands of the private sector. If businesses think they can make more money through M&A, buying stock back, and hiking dividends, that's what they're gonna do. They have a responsibility to their shareholders, Morris tells us; it's not any individual company's responsibility to fix the economy.