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SAN FRANCISCO-The Bay Area commercial real estate market has been rolling along nicely as of late. Generally speaking, vacancy rates are on the decline, rental rates are on the rise and new development is in the offing. That having been said, the debt side has muddied the waters for everyone involved.

Adding some clarity next week will be Alec Burger, head of North America Lending for GE Real Estate, a division of GE Commercial Finance, which boasts assets of more than $217 billion. Burger will be a keynote speaker at RealShare San Francisco, a half-day commercial real estate networking conference on Wednesday, Dec. 5, that will cover the future of San Francisco proper and its interconnectivity with markets in the greater Bay Area, including Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, Oakland and Walnut Creek.

“We were lucky with Burger; he’s a senior guy at GE Real Estate and given what’s going on with credit crunch, he’s a timely guy to have,” says Rich Kelley, director of the RealShare conference series, which puts on events year-round, all across the country. “All of our debt and equity sessions have been packed as everybody tries to get a handle on what the credit crunch means for the short term and the long term, including how it will impact the investment sales market going forward.”

The half-day event is expected to draw 250 commercial real estate professionals interested in seeing Burger and top-level executives from the Bay Area pontificate on the near-term future of the market. The event starts with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and concludes with lunch at 1 p.m.

Inside the Real Estate Mind, a staple of the RealShare conference series that directs the spotlight on a well known local player, will be handing the microphone to Louis Belmonte, principal of Seven Hills Properties, a locally based company developed neighborhood retail and multifamily properties. Prior to launching Seven Hills, Belmonte was an executive vice president with AMB Property Corp. and a principal with AMB Institutional Realty Advisors Inc.

“He’s one of the true characters in the business,” Kelley says. “He’s a great guy and a great interview with a rich career to look back on and draw upon for examples and experiences.”

Another highlight of the day’s events will be a Town Hall-type discussion with executives from TMG Partners (Matt Field, managing director), Shorenstein Properties (Charlie Malet, EVP, Leasing and Asset Management), AMB Property Corp. (Mark Hansen, VP, Capital Deployment), NAI/BT Commercial (Drew Arvay, partner) and Citigroup (Dwight Horn, SVP, Commercial Real Estate Finance).

The event also will have two sets of concurrent panel sessions. The first set will be “Debt and Equity Capital Markets Update” and “The Outlook for the Tenant-in-Common Investment Market.”

The Capital Markets panel will include Robert Kincheloe of Cohen Financial; Amy Price of Morgan Stanley; Steve Moen of Buchanan Street Partners; Ash Baraghoush of Hanover Financial; and John Christen of LEM Mezzanine. The TIC outlook panel will include Gary Goodman of Passco Cos. LLC; Alan Shorr of AFA Financial Group LLC; and Bill Angove of Asset Preservation Inc. The panel will be moderated by Arnie Harrison, a partner with Jenner & Block and chair of the firm’s real estate securities practice.

The second set of panel sessions will be “Dealing With the Cap Rate Crunch: Who’s Buying, Selling and Why?” and “Leasing, Investment and Development Forecast for the Office Market.” The panel for the cap rate crunch discussion will include Drew Gordon, director of acquisitions for ATC Partners; Jeff Mishkin, regional manager for Marcus & Millichap; Lee Broome, EVP of Sales and Business Development for Spectrus Real Estate Group; and Seth Siegel, and investment broker with Cushman & Wakefield.

The panel for the office market discussion will include Alan Friedman, Managing Director of Shorenstein Properties’ Capital Transactions Group; Mike Moran, managing partner of NAI BT Commercial’s office division; Kevin Brennan, EVP and co-branch manager of Studley; and Jerry Igra, a senior vice president with Grubb & Ellis. The panel will be moderated by Luce, Forward, Allan Low of Hamilton & Scripps LLP.

The RealShare conference series is produced by Real Estate Media, publishers of GlobeSt.com, Real Estate Forum and Real Estate Southern California.

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