The warm weather is not the only thing descending on New York City this week as CREFC hosts its annual Distressed Debt Summit at the New York Athletic Club overlooking Central Park. March in New York City is famous for the Big East Tournament (speaking of distressed…), St. Patrick’s Day parades and love blooming along with the flowers. But it won’t be all buzzer beaters, green beer, horse carriage rides and proposals in the park as industry leaders look to discuss the market trends and opportunities in the distressed debt market for 2013.

The conference kicks off on Wednesday with a series of panels discussing distressed debt issues and opportunities for 2013. First up is a panel titled “Market Trends and 2013 Opportunities,” moderated by TriMont’s John D’Amico. The panelists will include David Harrison of PNC Real Estate/Midland Loan Servicers, Gregg Chiota of Garrison Investment Group, Shari Linnick of Trepp, Bliss Morris of First Financial Network and Brian Olasov of McKenna, Long and Aldridge.

The discussions continue throughout the day on Wednesday and include panels such as “Creative Workout Structures” (hosted by Joe Sarcinella of Thompson and Knight) and “New Capital, Bridge and Rescue Lending and Equity” (hosted by Greta Guggenheim of Ladder Capital Finance LLC).

Next up, the balance sheet lenders will take center stage as Dechert’s own Rick Jones moderates a panel on balance sheet lender viewpoints. The panelists will be David Bouton of Citigroup Global Markets, Mike Moran of Allstate Investments, Elizabeth Fitzpatrick of Bank of America, Brian Furlong of NYLIM, Ivan Lehon of Ernst & Young LLP and Greg Null of Carlton Fields. This all-star group will discuss opportunities in the distressed debt market for portfolio lenders as well as hurdles portfolio lenders face in the distressed debt market.

Next up, the mezzanine lenders get a word in edgewise during the “Tranche Warfare” panel moderated by Bill O’Connor of Thompson & Knight. And it wouldn’t be a distressed debt conference if the special servicers didn’t get a say – day one of the conference closes out with “Special Servicer’s Roles in CMBS Secondary Markets” in a panel hosted by Kevin Donahue of C-III Capital Partners. Panelists include Jim Callahan of Pentalpha Capital Group, Bill Landis of Raith Capital Partners, Lea Overby of Nomura Securities International, Isaac Pesin of LNR Partners LLC and Tom Ruffing of CT Investment Management Co., LLC. The panel will discuss structural changes in CMBS 2.0/3.0 as well recent trends and current challenges of special servicing in the debt markets and is sure to be riveting.

Day two starts bright and early with a panel on exit strategies (moderated by Jan Sternin of Berkadia) and continues with “Enforcement of Foreclosure Rights” (moderated by Craig Welin of Frandzel Robins Bloom & Csato). The conference closes out by lunchtime on Thursday with back-to-back panels on the perspective of the B piece buyer, moderated by Nelson Hioe of Raith Capital Partners, and of owners and operators, respectively. Wrapping up at 12:30 on Thursday will give everyone an opportunity to network with old and new friends, and possibly sneak over to the Garden for day three of the Big East Tournament.

Dechert will continue to blog throughout the conference, and we look forward to seeing many of you there. Welcome to New York.

By: Krystyna Blakeslee and David Pildis