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IRVINE, CA-People were already starting to wonder if the pending subprime mortgage meltdown would affect the commercial real estate industry when RealShare Orange County convened a year ago. Now that the annual Orange County conference is about to convene again, RealShare conference director Rich Kelley says there could hardly be a better time and place for commercial real estate professionals to ask questions and find answers about where the industry is headed in light of the credit crunch fallout from the subprime lending fiasco.

“This is probably one of the first chances that most people have had to gather in a setting like this and to ask questions of industry leaders regarding the outlook for the capital markets,” Kelley says. “At last week’s RealShare Inland Empire, everybody in the audience was raising their hands and asking about what is going on in the capital markets and what the outlook for the industry is.”

RealShare Orange County’s fifth annual conference is set to run from 7:30 a.m. through a noon networking luncheon on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine. The crowd this year is anticipated at 400 or more, up from last year, according to RealShare group conference manager Colleen McShane.

Both McShane and Kelley point out that Orange County is a perfect venue for discussions about the current credit crunch. The county was a center of activity for the subprime mortgage industry at its peak and the home of one of its biggest players, New Century Financial Corp., which went bankrupt in the subprime crunch.

“People in the Orange County market are already familiar with the immediate issues surrounding the subprime lending fallout, but we think what the attendees will be most interested in will be the longer-term impact of the current situation,” Kelley says. McShane points out that the day’s keynote speaker, director Kerry Vandell of the University of California at Irvine’s Center for Real Estate, will provide an outlook on the local, state and US economies.

Vandell will lead an agenda that will feature a mix of keynote speakers, one-on-one interviews, panel sessions and networking. Following the UCI economist’s remarks, president and CEO Bill Halford of the Bixby Land Co. and co-president Tom McCarthyof McCarthy Cook will provide a one-on-one discussion called “Pardon the Interruption.”

Next up after a coffee break will be one of RealShare’s signature sessions, a town hall meeting on the state of the Orange County market, followed by three breakout sessions giving attendees their choice of panel discussions. One panel will be titled “Quantifying the Level of Distress in the Orange County Real Estate Market,” while a second will attempt to answer the question, “Can the Resurgent Orange County Office Market Live Up to Owner, Investor and Developer Expectations?” and a third will address the topic, “Getting Deals Done in the Debt & Equity Capital Markets.”

Following a networking break will come another of RealShare’s signature sessions, “Inside the Real Estate Mind.” This year’s interview subject will be John Parker, chairman of Orange County-based Parker Properties, who will be interviewed by group publisher and editorial director Michael Desiato of Real Estate Media.

Attendees will once again have their choice of three breakout sessions at noon, one on the topic of who’s buying and selling in the Orange County investment sales market, a second on opportunities large and small in the multifamily market and a third on the impact of tenant-in-common buyers on the Orange County Market.

Following the breakout sessions, RealShare Orange County will conclude with a 12:50 p.m. networking luncheon. RealShare Orange County, along with other RealShare events nationwide, is produced by Real Estate Media, publishers of GlobeSt.com, GlobeSt.Retail, Real Estate Forum magazine and other print and online publications devoted to commercial real estate.

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