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WHICH SECTOR IS GETTING HIT HARDEST?

More than half the respondents to last week’s Quick Poll voted for retail as the commercial real estate sector hit hardest by the ongoing economic downturn, with 22% voting for office, 21% for multifamily and only 7% for industrial. However, John Crossman, president of Orlando-based Crossman & Co. and immediate past president of the Central Florida Commercial Association of Realtors, sees two sides to the coin. Crossman, who is also active in the International Council of Shopping Centers, shares his thoughts on the current retail market:

“The market is very interesting right now. Two years ago, I thought it was overheated. I see things now that concern me, but at the same time there is opportunity out there. It’s a great time to be signing leases.

“I’m a big believer in fundamentals, and a lot of fundamentals were violated over the last five years in lending, brokerage, appraisal and development. There is a lot of pain now because of that.

“Having said that, there are retailers and companies who have stayed true to their fundaments and they’re going to do really well through this down time. An example is Publix buying Albertson’s stores, which was a brilliant move. I wish I’d thought of it.

“This is a great time to reflect, refocus and reinvent your business, look at what we’re doing and do it better. Some retailers are going to get hit pretty hard, but there are going to be others that are going to look back and say they didn’t experience that bad a slump.”

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