Execs are cautiously optimistic about NYC real estate investment in 2012

Scott Rechler, Jeffrey Levine, Hal Fetner and Kenneth Horn, the heads of RXR Realty, Douglaston Development, Durst Fetner Residential and Alchemy Properties, respectively, were just some of the top-flight real estate executives that attended Michael Stoler “Stoler State of the Market” conference yesterday, at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (see photos above). Stoler’s asked direct, probing questions covering the availability of debt and equity, financing, expectations for 2012 and residential market from the private equity perspective. Those four topics were discussed by 32 panelists in front of an audience of more than 200 people.

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Many panelists were optimistic looking forward. AKA Hotels & Korman Communities co-President Larry Korman said he expected a big year in 2012 as money comes off the sidelines and returns to the investment game. RXR Realty Chairman Scott Rechler anticipated investing as much as $3 billion over the next 18 months (note: correction appended). Douglas
Harmon, senior managing director at Eastdil Secured, compared 2011 to
2004, saying that inflation may be looming, but for the time being rates
are low. As a result, he said he, too, expects a good year moving

Matt Bronfman, managing director of Jamestown Properties who filled in last minute for Silverstein Properties CEO Larry Silverstein, said a lot of investing has been buoyed by overseas capital, and while he’s generally optimistic, he’s concerned that the federal government will implement deterrents to new investments from foreign capital. Finally, Area Property Partners CEO Lee Neibart said that while hotel rates are rising faster, and that sector is performing well, there are still many commercial vacancies that need to be filled before profits begin to be realized. — Marc Becker