(Charlotte, NC) - How might the energy sector and the recent volatility in the markets impact the local real estate market? Which specific markets are primed for short- and long-term growth? What financing opportunities and challenges remain? 

These are among the potential topics to be discussed by a panel of industry professionals at the ninth annual Outlook on the Commercial Real Estate Market forum, sponsored by Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and the accounting firm of GreerWalker LLP. The free, invitation-only event is Thursday, January 28 in uptown Charlotte.

"In addition to the event's networking benefits, the forum is an excellent venue to hear the diverse opinions on the state of the industry from a unique group of panelists and connect with local industry leaders," said GreerWalker Partner Jonathan McLester, who will welcome the gathering and introduce speakers at the event, expected to attract more than 350 attendees.

Sean Coghlan, director of investor research at Jones Lang LaSalle, will begin the evening with an economic overview of the real estate market, with a focus on the Carolinas. Frank Arado, a partner in Katten's Real Estate practice, will then moderate an in-depth panel discussion about the local market outlook with real estate and economic experts. The panel includes Coghlan, who provides macro and micro market analytics and strategies; Chris Thomas, retail partner at Childress Klein, who is responsible for the development, marketing and leasing of retail real estate projects in the Carolinas; and Robert Verrone, principal of Iron Hound Management Company, LLC, who brings more than two decades of experience in the commercial real estate industry.

"We look forward to providing the Charlotte business community with a thought-provoking discussion that will encompass a range of commercial real estate issues, from fewer financing restrictions to receding unemployment levels," said Arado. "As we begin 2016, it's important to fully examine the impact of the real estate industry on our regional economy."

Attendees are required to register for the event in advance. To register, please contact Michelle Robinson. While the event is free of charge, attendees also are encouraged to donate to Community Link, a local nonprofit that enables individuals and families to obtain and sustain safe, decent and affordable housing.