Uniting to Revive Commercial Real Estate, Posted by Gary

Let’s face it, it’s rare in the business world to see people putting their own agendas aside in favor of what’s best for the majority. But I had the pleasure of witnessing such sentiments at NAR’s Commercial Real Estate Industry Outreach Meeting last week in Washington, D.C.

NAR gathered representatives from 19 commercial real estate associations and firms to find solutions to the serious liquidity and credit issues facing commercial real estate. I’m talking below with Jan Sternin of the Mortgage Bankers Association and Blaine Walker (right), Chair of the REALTORS® Commercial Alliance.

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From Coldwell Banker Commercial to the Commercial Mortgage Securities Association to The Real Estate Roundtable, I found myself overly impressed with the quality of all the participants and everyone’s passionate commitment to finding a solution to revive the commercial industry.

I felt especially honored to sit with Congressman Paul Kanjorski, chairman of the Capital Markets Subcommittee, the night before at dinner. Rep. Kanjorski couldn’t attend the meeting, but his candid remarks at dinner and openness to hearing all sides of the issue showed he’s a true friend to REALTORS®. He not only understands the problems commercial REALTORS® are facing but is as committed as we are to finding a solution.

At the meeting, we talked about the difficulties we see, brainstormed ideas, and unanimously decided to draft a policy statement from which we can make recommendations to lawmakers. In the next two weeks, we will touch base again to fine-tune the statement.

Commercial real estate influences the residential market as well as plays a major role in the life of our entire economy. It’s critical that we revive this sector of business. I’m thankful NAR took the initiative to convene this meeting and press towards a solution.

We will keep you updated on our progress. In the meantime, I’m going let this meeting serve as a reminder to me that when several people unite toward a common goal, success seems like a greater possibility. – Gary Thomas, 2009 NAR Vice President and Liaison to Government Affairs