In response to the overwhelming interest of our readers to our first-ever compendium of company rankings last year, National Real Estate Investor is once again pleased to publish "Best of the Best." From owners to developers, from managers to brokers, the 12 separate rankings on the ensuing pages provide readers with important nuts-and-bolts information about the largest commercial real estate players in the industry.

New this year is the Top Hotel Owners survey, which reflects the magazine's ongoing commitment to cover all five major commercial real estate sectors: industrial, office, hotel, retail and multifamily. Questionnaires were mailed to about 1,500 companies at the beginning of May. Respondents were asked to complete the form and return it via mail or fax. Although the editors made every effort to ensure data collection was as comprehensive as possible, some companies chose not to participate. Due to space considerations, only the top 25 rankings appear in this issue.

The time period for all but one survey covers calendar year 2001. The lone exception is the ranking of top shopping center owners, which recorded the total Gross Leasable Area (GLA) owned as of Sept. 30, 2001. That information was originally published in NREI's sister publication, Shopping Center World, in January of this year and is reprinted with its permission.

Rankings for the top apartment owners and managers were provided by the National Multi Housing Council based in Washington, D.C., and first appeared in the March 2002 issue of NREI. Lastly, the rankings of direct lenders and financial intermediaries originally appeared in the April 2002 issue of NREI and are reprinted in this issue. Questions about the results should be directed to Survey Editor Carol Peacock at 770-618-0291.