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(Ian Ritter is national online editor for GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.)

NEW YORK CITY-Not only have more people entered the real estate-financing arena, but the way those deals are getting done keeps changing, according to speakers here at yesterday’s RealShare Structured Finance. “It’s an interesting time to raise capital,” said Jay Rollins, president of Denver-based JCR Capital. “The market has changed quite drastically in terms of spreads and competition over the last 12 months.”

Three years ago, firms were getting returns on deals in the high-teen to 20% range, but 13% to 16% is now more common, said Joseph Green, president and chief financial officer of Raleigh, NC-based Winston Hotels. “Spreads have come down across the board for any type of real estate investment,” added Jay Eisner, partner at Philadelphia-based LEM Mezzanine.

But some property types may currently be more advantageous than others. There is too much competition right now for underperforming retail, Rollins said, though opportunities exist in distressed condos and land. Investments in life science and medical projects are heating up, points out Michael Keyes, director of acquisitions at Boston-based real estate management firm Intercontinental. Meanwhile, the Boston office market has recently heated up, said Jeffrey Gronning, managing principal at Morristown, NJ-based Normandy Realty Partners.

Though there are an increasingly varied number of financing packages developers can receive, from preferred equity to high-leveraged mezzanine pieces, some in that area of real estate say they like to keep it as simple as possible. With challenges in development like rising construction costs and a tight property market, developers have enough to deal with doing business, said Bill Rafkin, senior vice president of investments at Koll Development Co., of Newport Beach, CA. “We just don’t want to compound these challenges by putting aggressive financing on it,” he said.

On the financing side, the way deals are done depends more on property type and opportunity than anything else, Eisner said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the real estate.”

About 150 people attended RealShare Structured Finance. RealShare conferences are produced by Real Estate Media, publisher of GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum.

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