Save us, Dubai World, from another year of bad commercial real estate!

Another year?

Maybe longer, says the chief economist with the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, before we even begin to see a recovery in the dismal commercial real estate market.

Should be pretty obvious why: despite nonsense to the contrary, any talk of an economic recovery is still premature, especially with the twin curses of unemployment and foreclosures continuing to rise.

The A&M economist predicts that it will be "high net worth investors" who will probably be the first to get their toes wet in any commercial real estate recovery.

But before the anticipated rise, says the economist, Mark Dotzour, there will come the deepening fall: He says real estate prices, rents and occupancy levels will all go further south.

It will be job growth by 2012, says Dotzour, that will help propel commercial real estate values upward.

Dubai to the rescue?

What the Texas economist did not take into account in his study is what may soon come to be called "the Dubai effect," a phrase I am coining here and now.

Dubai, or to be accurate, Dubai World, its commercial investment arm, is in financial trouble. And, says the Wall Street Journal, it may be forced to unload some of its "trophy properties" which include impressive commercial real estate in Manhattan and elsewhere.

Should this happen, says the WSJ (subscription required) this could "help turn the gears of a commercial real-estate market that has been stalled for more than a year." The notion being that if really, really cool stuff comes on the market, and at reduced prices, investors will flock.

So, forgive me Dubai, but maybe we should all hope you fail so that others may thrive? There, someone had to say it. (Maybe I should double-check that Dubai World doesn't own my condo building?)

Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think, The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle."
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