LOS ANGELES-These are some of the most interesting times inmany, many years for the hotel investment market, lodging analystJohn Arabia of Green Street Advisors told an audience of hotelindustry professionals Wednesday. "But there is a fair amount ofrisk," Arabia added.

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Arabia served on a panel titled: "Game Changers-InvestmentStrategies Past and Present" at the Meet the Money conference inLos Angeles. The event, as GlobeSt.com previouslyreported, was held Tuesday and Wednesday and drew justunder 400 attendees. Moderating the panel was Guy Maisnik, apartner at JMBM. Other panelists included: Jonathan Roth, aprincipal at Canyon Partners; Rick Kleeman, a managing partner ofWheelock Street Capital; Patrick Deming, a managing director withEastdil Secured; and Dana Ciraldo, president and CEO of LodgianInc.

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Patrick Deming, managing director with Eastdil Secured, pointedout that this is an exciting time for his company. "We are in theinitial stages of the next investment cycle," he said. According toDeming, it feels like the worst is over. "We have suffered througha hard 24 months, and I think that in the last 90 days, we haveseen fairly remarkable progress in the debt market in terms offundamentals."

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Deming explained that now that the worst is over from a macrostandpoint, he is seeing "people out there with the desire to dosomething." He continued that he can now actually go out and haveproductive discussions with clients "because there are ways toexecute in this market."

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He is telling his clients that if they want to get refinancednow, there is more capital out there than there is product. "If youhave a strategy you need to execute, the market is there to be ableto execute that," he said.

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During a presentation called "Hotel Values & Cap Rates,"Suzanne Mellen, a senior managing director of HVS, agreed that"lending is starting to resume." She pointed out that there arenumerous equity capital sources on the sidelines waiting foropportunities.

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Roth explained that, in terms of headline news, the worstheadlines are behind us. But he warned that there are still atremendous number of issues ahead, such as unemployment. "We reallyneed to create millions of jobs for everything to correct itself,"he said. A number of opportunities will present themselves on theinvestment front, he said, "but there is still a cleansing thatneeds to occur. The tough stuff is still ahead."

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There will be a return to fundamentals and a return to quality,Roth predicted. "Values got driven because of cheap debt," he said."There are lots of opportunities to go into the mine and collectthe individual pieces, but I am not sitting here with all theoptimism in the world."

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Following the investment panel, president Alan Reay of Irvine,CA-based Atlas Hospitality Group delivered a presentation called"California Markets-Defaults and Transactions." As he also recentlypointed out to GlobeSt.com, he noted that lenders will finallyrealize that "extend andpretend" is not working. He also predicted that salesvolume will jump 50% to 70% in 2010 and that there will betremendous buyer demand for quality assets and "A" locations.

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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.