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HOUSTON-Looking to explore the booming local market, RealShare Houston will team the delivery of cutting-edge information with “speed networking” for professionals from all industry sectors. The half-day agenda is focused on the city’s strong ’06 performance.

Sessions like “Firing on All Cylinders: The Outlook for Leasing, Investment & Development in the Houston Office Market” and “The [Outstanding] State of the Houston Market” take into account that, while the market is strong, it doesn’t mean that commercial real estate professionals can just sit back and relax.

Richard Kelley, director of the RealShare Conference Series, says this year’s circumstances are different from last year although the goals are the same–to present the cutting-edge information in an entertaining style. “When we did the event in 2005, the Houston market was just starting to emerge from a slowdown,” Kelley tells GlobeSt.com. “This year, in 2006, it seems as thought the market is firing on all cylinders.”

As a result, the RealShare team has developed sessions to help participants take advantage of a strong market, including “Getting Deals Done in Today’s Low Cap Rate Highly Competitive Debt & Equity Capital Markets.” Higher insurance costs associated with multifamily assets–and the interest from outside investors–will be highlighted as well by a specialty panel.

Kelley says the conference is attracting strong interest locally and a high number of attendees who are either already invested in Houston or are interested in entering the market. The attendance goal is 300 to 400.

The RealShare conference will bring the debut of “speed networking,” allowing attendees to meet-and-greet each other in one-minute rounds. Kelley says the concept has been used successfully at other RealShare conferences, providing an opportunity to meet a lot of people in a little time. The conference series is a production of Real Estate Media, publisher of GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum.

In other sessions, professionals will bore down into the impact of TIC buyers on the investment market to the Port of Houston and its effect on industrial market. A traditional focal point is “Inside the Mind,” which will be a one-on-one interview with Ed Wulfe, president and founder of Wulfe & Co. by Michael G. Desiato, group publisher and editorial director of Real Estate Media. In the interview, Wulfe will give an inside look at the current state of commercial real estate, especially retail.

Retail, which had softened somewhat in 2006, is nonetheless still strong, thanks to strong residential growth. “Ed Wulfe is well-regarded because of his career and real estate acumen,” Kelley says.

Finally, participants can look forward to lively give-and-take between Mark Cover, executive vice president of Hines Interests, and Tim Relyea, vice chairman with Cushman & Wakefield of Texas Inc. as they team ESPN-style for “Pardon the Interruption–RealShare Houston Style.” The leading professionals will take on about “10 or 11″ of the hottest issues in real estate and bounce back-and-forth in a rapid-fire manner, devoting one minute to each topic.

Despite the tweaks to the conference, Kelley says the underpinnings remain the same, with participants hopefully taking away an understanding of where the market is and where it is headed. He says RealShare is a good opportunity to hear different views and perspectives, regardless of how many years the professional has vested into commercial real estate. “Sometimes when you hear different sides,” he says, “it can be eye-opening and helpful. That’s what we want to do here.”

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