(CHARLOTTE) The law firm of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and the accounting firm of Greer & Walker, LLP will host their 5th annual forum examining the state of the commercial real estate market in Charlotte and the Southeast and the outlook for 2012. The event will take place on Wednesday, January 18 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at The Ritz-Carlton, 201 East Trade Street.

This year’s panel speakers include Michael Cohen, executive director at UBS Securities LLC; Ned Curran, president and chief executive officer at Bissell Companies; and Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo. The event is expected to attract approximately 400 of Charlotte’s leading business and civic leaders.

“We all anticipate that the real estate market will continue to improve in 2012 with the availability of debt returning, especially for well-situated properties with strong sponsors, and the resurgence of equity investors in the market,” said Daniel S. Huffenus, managing partner of Katten’s Charlotte office and part of the firm’s Real Estate practice. “Through this event, we hope to shed some light on the future of our commercial real estate market as we start a new year.”

“Every year we look forward to this event where the real estate industry can get together and hear from different market experts on how current and expected trends might impact the economic development and the commercial real estate market,” said Barry Leasure, partner at Greer & Walker, LLP. “In addition to its informative value, the annual Real Estate Outlook has become one of the key networking events for the real estate industry in Charlotte.”

The event is free of charge. Attendees are encouraged to donate to the Charlotte-based, non-profit organization Community Link which enables individuals and families to obtain and sustain safe, decent affordable housing.

Limited seating for media is available – if you are interested in attending please RSVP to Jodi Kawada at jodi.kawada@katten.com or call 312-902-5370. The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the program/panel will start at 6:30 p.m.