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December 2009

No signs of a fast recovery after a brutal 2009

As seen in Crain’s Chicago Businesslogo_crains
By: Coleen Lobner

Signs of a recovery in local commercial real estate should be in short supply next year, with few companies predicted to expand their workforces. Amid rising vacanscy rates and falling rents, particularly in the suburbs, many office tenants will scramble to cut costs by subleasing space or renegotiating existing leases.

“It’s a great opportunity to take advantage of historic low occupancy costs,” says Rick Schuham, an executive vice-president in the Chicago office of Studley Inc.

The brokerage business was so bad in 2009 that four firms declined to participate in Crain’s annual surveys of the largest local commercial leasing and sales brokers after taking part in past years.

“Our numbers or those of our competition have little to no substance or meaning based upon the absurdity of what is going on in the real estate industry and the financial markets today,” says Dave Petersen, CEO of asset management at Oakbrook Terrace-based NAI Hiffman, which did not participate.

The other firms not participating this year are Oakbrook Terrace-based retail real estate specialist Mid-America Asset Management Inc., Pittsburgh-based investment sales firm Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. and the local affiliate of California-based brokerage Lee & Associates.

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