NEW YORK CITY—As commercial real estate transaction volume expands and cap rates continue to compress, it’s logical to ask what lessons the industry has taken from the previous cycle, and Schulte Roth & Zabel partner Jeffrey Lenobel posed that question Wednesday to a pair of heavy hitters in private equity. Ronald Kravit, head of real estate investing and senior managing director at Cerberus Capital Management, was blunt in his assessment: “I think we’ve learned absolutely nothing,” he said, warning that discipline levels were creeping downward to 2007 levels.

Russell Appel, founding principal of the Praedium Group, took a marginally sunnier view, expressing the hope that the industry had taken at least some lessons from past experience. For one thing, “We’re less leveraged today than we were in 2005 or 2006.” Both Appel and Kravit made clear how their firms are looking at potential deals differently in the current environment, maintaining discipline that serves them well.

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