NEW YORK CITY-It wasn’t so long ago, recalled John Salustri, when all anybody in commercial real estate had to worry about was “a bad market.” Salustri, editorial director of Incisive Media’s real estate group, observed, “the main question in those simpler days was if we were headed for a recession. Over successive Mondays in September, the curtain was pulled back on the true extent of our brokenness.”

Helping to survey–and make sense of–this post-meltdown landscape was a power panel of five commercial real estate experts convened by Salustri for the latest in the series of webinars produced by Titled “Wall Street in a Freefall: The Winners and Losers,” the hour-long discussion held Sept. 26 charted the differences between now and a month ago as well as a year ago, how this capital markets crisis differs from previous downturns and how savvy operators could make the most of the opportunities it will present. (Listen to a replay of the event, available through Dec. 26, here.)

Among the Wall Street downturns seen over the past couple of decades, the current one looms as “the most severe and the most dangerous,” in the words of Anthony LoPinto, CEO of Equinox Partners and a regular blogger on However, fellow panelist Robert White Jr., president of Real Capital Analytics, pointed out, “it’s absolutely correct to make the distinction between what’s going on in the capital markets and what’s going on in the space markets.” One thing distinguishing this downturn from others, panelists said, is that real estate fundamentals are better able to withstand the shocks.

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