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DENVER-Terry Considine, chairman, CEO and founder of Apartment Investment and Management Co., made a rare public appearance addressing about 150 business leaders attending the Apartment Association of Metro Denver’s Fall Economic Conference. GlobeSt.com exclusively covered the conference, called 20/20 Vision, a 20-year historical perspective and a 20-year forecast of the Denver apartment industry.

AIMCO, with a $3-billion market cap, is the nation’s second-largest publicly apartment REIT in the country. It’s about half the size of Chicago-based Equity Residential Property Trust headed by Sam Zell.

”We are in the middle of a recession,” Considine told the group.

But, he says that a typical U.S. recession lasts about 11 months, which he says will mean that the economy will pull out of the current downturn next spring or next summer. He adds the current recession will not be nearly as severe as the one in Denver in the mid-1980s, following the energy crash.

”It’s funny,” Considine says. ”There are a lot of people in my office in their 20s and 30s who have never been in a recession. But compared to the oil crash in the ’80s, this will be a mild recession. We do not have the oversupply we had in the ‘80s, even if we have a bit more supply than we need.”

However, ”what happened on Sept. 11 cast a shadow over Colorado and the entire nation… but in the long run, we will prevail,” says Considine, who served as a Colorado state senator form 1987 to 1992 and was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for the US Senate in 1992. He holds an undergraduate and a law degree from Harvard.

Although he was a politician, Considine says he doesn’t like the idea of government stepping in to solve problems. Developers shouldn’t waste their time trying to change politician’s minds, but rather should work at grassroots levels to get those elected who share their sensibilities and concerns, he advises.

Unlike many of his peers, he isn’t troubled by the idea that development should pay its own way.

”What we need are clear and predictable rules,” Considine says.

For example, he says the industry needs clear rules regarding what its responsibility is toward mold and what landlords need to do to provide a safe housing unit. He compares the recent alleged health problems associated with mold to previous hysteria regarding radon and asbestos.

”We’re at the mercy of predatory lawyers,” Considine says.

On another subject, he says the idea of collecting ancillary revenues from such things as cable TV, high-speed Internet access, or even pizza deliveries, is ”eye wash…We’re already taking such a big chunk from (renter’s) wallets that to come back to them and ask for more cash is a loser’s game.”

Considine also says he would be nervous about getting a floating rate loan at this time, despite the ultra low rates, because he fears inflation will rear its ugly head again, sending interest rates rising. But Considine cautions he may be over-reacting based on his experiences with inflation in the ’80s.

He paraphrased Mark Twain, who once said: ”We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it — and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again — and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.”

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