Breakfast Of (Real Estate) Champions

The commercial real estate brokers at Cushman & Wakefield invited dozens of reporters into their gleaming new office on Sixth Avenue this week to share their year-end outlook and some breakfast. In this case, served sunny side up.

As headlines trumpet the dire state of commercial real estate -- office buildings, retail, large apartment complexes and the like -- Cushman & Wakefiled put a more positive spin on matters, at least in New York, the country's biggest market for office and retail space.

"If you want to call a market bottom, we're close to it," said Joseph R. Harbert, chief operating officer for the New York metro area for Cushman & Wakefield.

Among the positive signs: The percentage of empty office space shrank in December, and the number of leases signed for office space picked up in the second half of the year. However, that doesn't mean 2010 will be a great year -- just not as bad as 2009.