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NEW YORK CITY-The climate facing attendees of this year’s RealShare Net Lease conference, scheduled for April 29 at the Marriott Marquis, is very different from the era of sinking cap rates and soaring transaction volumes seen in 2007. Whether the pendulum has finished swinging in the opposite direction, as it had begun to do when the 2008 Net Lease gathering took place, is a question for which there is no easy answer. But it’s one this year’s conference will address as it helps net lease investors and owners assess the current market and make sense of the opportunities and challenges it offers.

“The seventh annual RealShare Net Lease will convene at a very interesting time,” says Brian Klebash, RealShare Conference Series conference producer for Incisive Media, which also publishes GlobeSt.com. “The nation is deep in recession, the administration is taking steps to regenerate lending and traditional net lease investors, meanwhile, are plotting their next moves. Some have exited the market in the past year. Others are ready to start buying. There is activity in the net lease arena, and you will find out exactly what the key players are doing and how they are turning this down cycle into an opportunistic time.”

Getting the conversation started will be a panel featuring Sam Chandan and Howard Davidowitz that will discuss the economy from a purely real estate perspective. Chandan, president and chief economist of Real Estate Economics, and Davidowitz, chairman of retail consulting firm Davidowitz & Associates, will tackle the state of investment activity in net lease properties, the retail outlook for this year and next, landlord/tenant relationships and the potential for distressed opportunities. David Silvers, vice chairman and partner of US Realty Advisors, will moderate.

This year’s Town Hall Meeting panel, “The Lease Market Today & Tomorrow,” will bring together a group of net lease, sale-leaseback and 1031 exchange experts to discuss the trends that will drive new investment activity, who these new investors will be and the hurdles that long-term players need to overcome. The panel, moderated by Bruce MacDonald, president of Net Lease Capital Advisors, will also tackle questions of cap rates and buyer/seller expectations.

The new realities of debt financing are next on the agenda, and moderator Gerald Levin will lead a discussion of the likelihood of CMBS returning and what–and who–investors can turn to in its absence. Levin, senior managing director of sale-leaseback capital at Mesirow Financial, will also ask his panelists to describe the pricing and underwriting they would expect when stabilization occurs and when they think this is most likely to happen.

Attendees at the all-day event can next choose between a panel discussion titled “Green Outlook: The Future of Corporate Real Estate” or any of five niche roundtable discussions. Topics include “Lease Accounting Changes: The Latest Developments,” “Insurance Products for Net Lease Investors,” “Single-Tenant Properties for TIC & DST Deals,” “The International Sale-Leaseback Arena” and “Net Lease Opportunities in the Medical Office Sector.”

Another special RealShare Net Lease feature will be the “Net Lease Insider,” one-on-one discussion conducted by John Salustri, editorial director of Incisive Media’s real estate group. This year’s “insider” will be Paul McDowell, chairman and CEO of publicly traded REIT CapLease Inc. and a 15-year veteran of the net lease property market. “I plan to inject optimism at this year’s RealShare Net Lease,” says McDowell. “The world will be better–in less time than people think.”

Continuing in a positive vein will be “Making Lemonade Out of Lemons: Strategies for a Challenged Market.” This general session will explore the business and investment strategies being deployed today to find the opportunities that often come out of times of distress. Sean O’Shea, managing director of BRC Advisors, will moderate.

Perhaps the highlight of an otherwise dim landscape, the sale-leaseback market could be a prime beneficiary of the credit crunch as corporations seek alternate avenues for raising capital. Senior director Jeff Hughes of the Stan Johnson Co. will moderate a panel that includes experts from both the sale-leaseback investor and the corporate advisor arenas: Chad Adams, Century Equities Inc. VP of acquisitions; James Brault, president and CEO of Brauvin Net Lease Inc.; James Koster II, Jones Lang LaSalle’s corporate capital markets managing director; Brian Scott, senior managing director at CB Richard Ellis; and Joel Tomlinson, director of acquisitions at Cole Real Estate Investments.

Rounding out the day’s agenda will be a lunch where attendees can either network on their own or join a deal case study table discussion and time for networking with new and existing business contacts. A full conference agenda and registration information can be found on the RealShare website.

To register for RealShare Net Lease 2009, click here.

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