Comparatively few owners are selling properties at the moment,and those that do are "not as pressured" as might be expected in anera of rising distress, said Joshua Zamir, managing partner ofCapstone Equities. "They're only selling because a broker toldthem, 'I can get you a sub-6% cap rate,'" Zamir commented.

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A lack of capital isn't the problem, said Zamir, who observedthat there's "tons of money out there and no place to put it."Capstone did figure in one of the few large transactions of late:the purchase of the 1.1-million-square-foot office property at4 NewYork Plaza, reportedly for $107 million, in a partnershipwith Norfolk, VA-based the Harbor Group. Eric Gural, executivemanaging director at Newmark Knight Frank, said "the idea thatthere's no financing out there is wrong. There's no financing at90% anymore, but those types of loans should never have beenmade."

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Zamir pointed out to the beginnings of a comeback for thesecuritization market. Toward the end of 2009, he said, there werethree single-borrower CMBS deals. Now, he said, the firstmulti-borrower deal in two years—Keystone Property Group's $53.5-millionrefinancing last month of a Pittsburgh-area officeproperty—offers "a good sign for the market."

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Another positive sign cited by Zamir was the difference betweenFebruary '09 and last month when it comes to negative absorption ofoffice space. A year ago, it was three million square feet forMidtown, he said; last month it was 50,000 square feet. Downtown,where much of Capstone's portfolio is concentrated, not all of thespace that will be given back by Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch andother financial services giants will come onto the market, Zamirsaid.

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But any positive absorption in the market doesn't mean thatrents will start climbing again any time soon, Gural warned. "Ourindustry is based on jobs, and we haven't really had any positivejob growth in the city," he said. The well-attended presentation,the first breakfast event to be held by the recently-formed NAIOPchapter, was moderated by Michael Stoler.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.