06/26/2009 08:52 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Don't Write Off New York Too Fast

At the New York Real Estate Economic Survival Kit Conference this week in Manhattan, some of the city's biggest names gave some well needed perspective about what we're really going through and where we could end up.

I had the honor to host Peter Malkin, Chairman of Wien and Malkin LLC and owner of the Empire State Building and Richard LeFrak, Chairman and CEO of the LeFrak Organization and owner of LeFrak City shared insights about the market in a rarely seen forum. Also participating on this panel were Michael Katz, Co-CEO of Sterling Equities and owner of the New York Mets, Howard J. Rubenstein, PR Guru and President of Rubenstein Associates and David Levinson, Chairman and CEO of L & L Holdings which owns many A-list office buildings in New York City.

The amount of history their respective firms represent is over 250 years of continuous activity in the New York marketplace and these principals have an enormous amount of experience to reflect upon. And what is their take on the market at this time? First, they acknowledge that this is one of the deepest drops in activity and property values in a very long time. Perhaps one of the worst in their careers. Secondly, the lack of liquidity from the financial sector is the real depressing factor and when it loosens up will determine when we're going to pull out of it. The next 24 months, it was agreed, will be the worst of it all based on the billions of dollars of commercial real estate loans coming due.

However, each and every one of these people agreed that this is also one of the most opportunistic times to be in the market as a buyer. Profits and growth are made on the "buy" and based on the current valuation of real estate, this may one of the best times to make acquisitions. Will it be easy? Not at all. But if you consider the impact these business leaders have had over a very long period of time, their perspective is something to really learn from.