[IMGCAP(1)]NEW YORK CITY-”We are extremely bullish on Downtown,” and “there is Downtown demand for retail” were the chief statements echoed from many key players who served as panelists at Real Estate Media’s inaugural RealShare Downtown New York conference Tuesday. The conference, which attracted nearly 300 attendees, provided an overview of the current redevelopment and investment climate here, analyzed trends and patterns, and discussed leasing as well as the continued impact of the credit crunch on the financing investment sales markets.

[IMGCAP(2)]Keynote speaker Avi Schick, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. launched the event by discussing key examples of value in the Downtown area. He pointed to the six office towers coming online in the near future as a key advantage. He also noted that many investments being made in the area, such as transportation; parks and open space; cultural institutions; hotels; schools; retail; and residential, are key factors in Downtown’s future. “We will continue to invest Downtown,” he said, “and we look forward to the future of lower Manhattan.”

[IMGCAP(3)]Schick’s optimistic view continued on through the next session titled: “Town Hall Meeting: State of the Downtown Market,” where leading industry experts and key Downtown players were also bullish about Downtown’s future. Lois Weiss, columnist for the New York Post, moderated the panel, which included: Larry Silverstein, president and CEO of Silverstein Properties Inc.; Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York; David Arena, president of Grubb & Ellis New York Inc.; Robert Freedman, president & CEO of GVA Williams; Dennis Friedrich, president & COO of Brookfield Properties; and Alan Gerson, City Council Member of the 1st District of the New York City Council. Gerson began the discussion assuring the audience that as far as gubernatorial presence goes, “we have a team who is committed to Downtown.” Silverstein agreed that Gov. Paterson is “determined to advance Downtown.”

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