LOS ANGELES-What a difference a year makes. When 1,000-plus commercial real estate professionals gathered a year ago to plan for 2008, the big question were whether we were in a recession and what the industry should do to prepare itself in case conditions worsened. Now that the recession is official and the economic downturn and credit crisis have altered the commercial real estate playing field, industry professionals are trying to formulate new game plans.

How the industry’s leaders are adjusting to the downturn and how they plan to approach their businesses in 2009 and beyond will be at the top of the agenda on Thursday, March 5 when more than 1,000 commercial real estate leaders and allied professionals tackle a host of topics at Real Estate 2009. The event at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles begins with breakfast/registration at 7 a.m. and continues with a full day of presentations and panel sessions until concluding with a combination cocktail reception and networking hour beginning at 3:40 p.m.

Following opening remarks at 8 a.m. by Michael Desiato, group publisher and editorial director of Real Estate Media, the conference will begin with a keynote address by CMBS pioneer Ethan Penner, executive managing director at CB Richard Ellis Investors, whose analysis of today’s financial marketplace will set the tone for a major focus on capital markets and finance throughout the day. The full day of presentations, keynote remarks and panel discussions will feature 60 leading industry speakers and three networking breaks along with breakfast, lunch and the networking reception at the end of the day.

During the morning general sessions, speakers and panels will tackle some of the industry’s toughest questions in sessions with titles like “Economic Update: What will it take to fuel a recovery?”, “The capital conundrum,” “Private Equity Funds: The End of an Era?” and “How to adapt to changing demands in the market.” In the hour before lunch, attendees will be able to choose from two different sessions, a multifamily outlook or an office market review and forecast.

Following lunch, Real Estate 2009 will feature another keynote speaker when Bernie Haddigan, SVP and managing director in charge of Marcus & Millichap’s special assets services division, will outline his insights on the current and projected levels of distress within the commercial property sectors with an address titled “Distressed commercial real estate: Separating the myths from reality.” The afternoon sessions that follow will include an industry leaders crossfire arguing the question “Will there be zen in 2010?,” and two panel discussions: “The Real Insurance Risk in 2009-What you need to know,” and “Capital Markets: Recapitalization, Workouts and Restructures.”

Real Estate 2009 is produced by Incisive Media, publisher of Real Estate Forum, Real Estate Southern California and GlobeSt.com. The RealShare Conference Series produces more than 30 commercial real estate networking events every year.

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