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CHICAGO-In one of the first sessions of NAIOP’s annual development–focused meeting, Aaron Paris shared his insights into surviving the current economic downturn. The chairman and CEO of Paris Development II offered his observations based on his previous experience with the recession cycles beginning at the 1973 downturn.

He told attendees that a recession is not the result of one specific event but rather a number of straws placed on the camel’s back. “History repeats itself over and over when you begin looking at these facts,” he said offering slides that compared the price increase per barrel of oil that happened in every downturn, as well as the increased unemployment rates.

For instance in the 1973-1974 downturn oil shot up to $43 a barrel compared to the pre-recession price of $17per barrel, using 2008 dollar amounts. This shows a 250% increase. The current recession has seen more than a 300% increase at the highest point.

What Paris believes will differ this time around is the subsequent price adjustments that happen when the market corrects. He does not think oil will ever return to the prices we were seeing in early 2007, a fact that will directly impact the real estate industry since the price of oil impacts the industrial market, which impacts the retail market, impacting the economy and ultimately the office market.

Paris offered the industry professionals at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers a few pieces of advice. He advised companies to make bold plans, to go where the young professionals are locating, to cultivate relationships with strong regional and local banks, to be skinny and outsource as much as possible, and to not cut back on marketing and public relation efforts.

Lastly, Paris said that while the economy might not be improving dramatically the recent Corus Bank deal with the FDIC and Starwood will be the point of reference for bank takeovers moving forward. This model will result in a number of purchasing opportunities beginning in 2010. Personally, Paris said he’s banking on the industrial market to invest in first.

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