CHICAGO-The typical push-pull accusations and complaints aboutthe crisis in commercial real estate, compounded by a lack oflending, permeated a US House hearing on CRE problems and solutionshere Monday. The hearing, held at the Dirksen US Courthousedowntown, was overseen by the House’s Committee on FinancialServices, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. The topicwas "A Chicago Perspective," and the purpose was stated succinctlyby Bruce Cohen, CEO of Wrightwood Capital, during the hearing, "Thecurrent credit system in America simply does not have the capacityto meet the legitimate demand for commercial real estate debt."

Various local CRE industry experts, bank and governmentofficials spoke during the hearing. A couple of the industryleaders spoke on behalf of organizations. Joseph Cosenza, vicechairman and director of the Inland Real Estate Group Inc., andpresident of Inland Real Estate Acquisitions Inc., presented viewson behalf of National Association of Realtors and IllinoisAssociation of Realtors.

Cozenza said a crisis is looming in the commercial real estatemarket due to a confluence of issues that include economicconditions, especially high unemployment; weakening commercialproperty fundamentals; declining commercial property sales volumeand price; slow commercial property lending; and increasingcommercial loan delinquencies. "These circumstances, paired with$1.4 trillion of anticipated commercial mortgages’ maturitiesthrough 2014, create a challenging commercial real estate financeenvironment," he said during the hearing.

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