Zell Says Ride Real Estate 'Til 09

Two months after selling Equity Office Properties to Blackstone for $39 billion and in the middle of his attempt to acquire the Tribune Co., Sam Zell addressed a REIT symposium at New York University. There he predicted real estate would remain strong for at least two more years.

Speaking from notes and sporting his trademark business casual attire - a corduroy jacket over a striped shirt with the top two buttons open - Zell leaned over the podium as he walked listeners through 20 years of real estate market history. He opened with an anecdote about a 1984 Texas bumper sticker: "Please, God, give us one more oil boom. We won't screw it up this time."

He said the real estate market might as well have printed similar stickers - and that the industry did get its hoped-for boom. And though prognosticators have suggested that the market has peaked, he said the short-term outlook remains strong.

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