Fort Monroe, Virginia: The Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority (Fort Monroe Authority) announces it has retained Old Point Comfort Real Estate Services, LLC (OPCRES), a joint venture of two of the most powerful real estate service providers in Hampton Roads, Divaris Real Estate, Inc. (Divaris) and Frye Properties, Inc. (Frye), to provide leasing, management and advisory service to the Fort Monroe Authority as they make the changeover to a state enclave of the Commonwealth of Virginia on September 15, 2011. Fort Monroe Authority is a political sub-division of the state charged with the management of the 565-acre historic site in perpetuity.
On behalf of Fort Monroe Authority, OPCRES will be responsible for the leasing and management of nearly 2 million square feet of existing buildings, facilities, grounds and features that make up the National Historic Landmark District. The Authority serves as master developer of Fort Monroe, contracting with third party service providers, developers and operators to assist in transforming an active military base into a vibrant community.
Bill A. Armbruster, executive director of Fort Monroe Authority, stated “Frye and Divaris have the local market knowledge, the creative vision and practical hands-on experience developing, leasing and managing millions of square feet of commercial space and thousands of residential units to successfully achieve the goals of this mandate.
“It was obvious after speaking with them that their range of capabilities exceeded what we could expect from one individual company. From their body of work, track record and breadth of experience, it was evident that they were the most capable group to fulfill our needs. Their experience in the privatization of housing gives us a level of confidence that there would be an extremely smooth transition for the military residents currently on the installation,” Armbruster adds.
Divaris, with its extensive background steeped in mixed-use and complex commercial real estate leasing and management, and Frye, with its expertise in leasing and managing multi-family and residential properties, and both companies having rich development histories, were uniquely positioned to provide Fort Monroe Authority with a turnkey solution for its real estate opportunities. Sandy Cohen, chief operating officer of Divaris Real Estate and Kimberly Merritt, asset manager of Frye Properties, will head up the asset management along with the principals and founders of each company, including Gerald S. Divaris, CEO of Divaris Real Estate and D. Bart Frye of Frye Properties.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to be a part of the birth of a new community in Hampton Roads that also will be unique on a national basis for its blending of heritage tourism and recreational opportunities with commercial, residential, destination entertainment and resort facilities along a scenic waterfront location,” Cohen said. “Fort Monroe has the potential to become again the recreational magnet that it once was.”
“Offering the best in class for both residential and commercial leasing and property management make Frye and Divaris the ideal partners for the Fort Monroe Authority in its quest to create a truly unique community that blends the historic charm of Old Point Comfort with its extensive historical, tourist, recreational, commercial, institutional, residential, entertainment, and hospitality opportunities,” according to Jerry L. Moore, interim deputy director of real estate for the Fort Monroe Authority.
“Our number one goal is to respect the historical features, as it transitions to a mixed-use village. Secondly, we will preserve the existing residences during the post-transfer. We are experienced with the transition of government and military housing to private ownership,” Merritt says. “Our goal is to make the transition as seamless as possible because we want to encourage the current residents to contribute to the renaissance of the village.”
Fort Monroe is located on a barrier spit where the Hampton Roads harbor and the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay meet at the site where the Old Point Comfort lighthouse has welcomed ships since 1802. The garrison has more than 180 historic structures and features that contribute to the National Historic Landmark District. The hallmark of Fort Monroe today is its stone fortifications and moat – the largest in the United States. It was constructed between 1819 and 1834. Originally named Point Comfort by Captain John Smith in 1607, the first fort at the site, erected in 1609, served to protect Jamestown colonists and was the first coastal fortification erected in British North America. Fort Monroe, and the fortifications that preceded it, have played a dominant role in every major American military conflict from the Revolutionary War through current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Existing Army functions at Fort Monroe will be relocated primarily to nearby Fort Eustis.
The Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority was created by legislative action of the Virginia General Assembly in 2007. The Fort Monroe Authority will manage Fort Monroe in perpetuity. Further information regarding the Fort Monroe Authority may be found at http://www.fortmonroeauthority.com.
Divaris Real Estate Inc. is headquartered in Virginia Beach, Va. with offices in Chesapeake, downtown and suburban Norfolk, Newport News, and Richmond, Va.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Rockville, Md. Divaris Real Estate and Divaris Property Management Corp. are divisions of The Divaris Group, an international real estate brokerage and property management company that currently manages and/or leases in excess of 24 million square feet of prime office, retail and industrial space throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states.
Divaris is a member of Realty Resources, a national group of independent retail property brokers and managers covering 91 major markets throughout the U.S. Divaris is also the Virginia affiliate for The CORE Network, a national group of office and industrial brokers with affiliates throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Asia and Europe. These organizations represent corporate and institutional clients, as well as tenants and buyers in all aspects of leasing, development and managing properties, acquisitions and land sales. Gerald S. Divaris is chairman of the Board, and Michael B. Divaris is president of Divaris Real Estate Inc. Divaris can be found on the Internet at http://www.divaris.com.
Frye Properties, Inc. was established in Norfolk, Virginia in 1978 by D. Bart Frye. The company began as a real estate development and management firm focused on housing finance. The company’s operations expanded in the early 1980’s with the systematic purchase of multi-family complexes acquired with private capital through syndication, public debt, and in the case of affordable (assisted) housing complexes, allocations of Federal funds. The company has acquired, rehabilitated and sold almost 5,000 units in 22 complexes throughout the Southeast United States. Today, the corporate office is located in the historic Freemason section of downtown Norfolk. Each property managed has its own resident services office.
Frye’s properties are located in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, with a current portfolio of over 3,000 apartments, condominiums, townhouses and single-family developments. Mr. Frye’s development skills have been showcased in the award winning East Beach development in Norfolk on the Chesapeake Bay. East Beach was the site of the Tidewater Builders Association’s 2006 Homerama Showcase of Builders. The Showcase will return to East Beach this year in October. East Beach was TBA’s Community of the Year in 2006 and again in 2008.