[IMGCAP(2)]During the general session Town Hall Meeting: TheState of the Philadelphia Market, moderator Robert Walters, asenior managing director of CB Richard Ellis looked to panelistsJeff DeVuono, SVP and regional manager of Brandywine Realty Trust,David Fahey, president of the commercial division at Binswanger,Bill Glazer, president and founder of Keystone Property Group,James Mazzarelli, SVP and regional director of Liberty PropertyTrust, for their outlooks on where Philadelphia stands goingforward.

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[IMGCAP(3)]"Clearly there is a discussion about the recessionand tough times, but I would love to remind everyone that it wasless than a year ago—July of '07—when everybody in the market waswalking around complaining bitterly that there was nothing to buy,"said Glazer. "The complaint today is that there is nothing to buybecause there is no money. Pick a complaint. I like this market,because we are back to blocking and tackling, fundamentals."

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[IMGCAP(4)]Mazzarelli notes that Philadelphia is moving in asolid direction. "I think that when you talk about what's happeningin the Philadelphia economy and real estate, you have to go rightto the demand side. …You start in the core; everything happens inthe Center City and moves out in my opinion. We have an incrediblehealthy, maybe even defined as robust city in Center CityPhiladelphia.

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He continued that "supply and demand is in perfect order, withdemand maybe outstripping supply right now, and rents are goingup." He explained that in the western suburbs, financial marketsare thinking about expending, life sciences are expanding andtechnologies are talking about hiring more people, which he said isa good side. He further explained that if you go look at theEastern part of the suburbs, "although they have gotten bangedaround a little, insurance companies are starting to expand andthat is a good thing, so I think you are going to see that marketstabilize from what looked like a dower situation a year ago."

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DeVuono is more bullish than negative looking out from theinside. "The capital markets really have returned to a normalenvironment and that is a good thing," he said. "On the demandside, we went into 2008 very bullish on the demand of office spacein Center City Philadelphia and we continue to be pleased with thatopinion….You have a declining tax environment not only with theexisting administration and you have a situation where you have acost of construction that is going to prohibit new construction soyou have a better balance between supply and demand."

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He further noted that there is really no market in this regionthat isn't under a lot of pressure. "You've got some that arebetter than others, but this environment from an occupancy, demandperspective is something you don't really have to worry about."

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Fahey said that Philadelphia is more insulated than otherregions in the country and believes that the city will do well withsome of the other positive things it has currently going on. "Allwe hear about is economy and recession and that is certainly anegative, however drilling down a little further in thePhiladelphia area, we have vacancy which is going down and rentalrates which are going up," he said. "On the other side of theequation, we've got sales rate going down, but cap rates going upso there is some confusion going on. Philadelphia is an anomalycompared to other places."

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Fahey noted that he thinks the city is in relatively good shaperegardless of what's going on in the general economy. "I think thatwill bode well," he said. "I think it is an exciting time becausewe have a new administration." He did say though that he was alittle nervous, "because you never know. Commercial real estate isa lagging indicator, so maybe six months from now, it will be aproblem."

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Natalie Dolce

Natalie Dolce, editor-in-chief of GlobeSt.com and GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum, is responsible for working with editorial staff, freelancers and senior management to help plan the overarching vision that encompasses GlobeSt.com, including short-term and long-term goals for the website, how content integrates through the company’s other product lines and the overall quality of content. Previously she served as national executive editor and editor of the West Coast region for GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum, and was responsible for coverage of news and information pertaining to that vital real estate region. Prior to moving out to the Southern California office, she was Northeast bureau chief, covering New York City for GlobeSt.com. Her background includes a stint at InStyle Magazine, and as managing editor with New York Press, an alternative weekly New York City paper. In her career, she has also covered a variety of beats for M magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, FashionLedge.com, and Co-Ed magazine. Dolce has also freelanced for a number of publications, including MSNBC.com and Museums New York magazine.