The whole Eastern Seaboard has really taken a beating with the extreme winter weather over the past two weeks. Parts of Virginia Beach received up to 10 inches of snow, Norfolk experienced record low temperatures of 6 degrees on Thursday, Charlotte saw black ice on major highways and cities along the entire coast shut down for a period due to such severe weather. Of course school kids and their parents rejoice for a day at home and small businesses feel the negative effects on their cash drawers, but what about the Commercial Real Estate business? How does a winter storm change the scene for a real estate broker?
“I find winter to be one of the best times in the Commercial Real Estate business, specifically January and February as fewer people take vacations and companies roll out their real estate initiatives,” says Krista Costa, Vice President in the Virginia Beach office of Divaris Real Estate. “Local small-business leasing may slow down before or after inclement weather, but for the most part national tenants keep us busy.” Brokers and tenants do not want to tour in bad weather and tours scheduled for snow days are usually postponed, but will typically reschedule for a few days later. The six Divaris offices combined saw more than 10 appointments cancelled during the recent snow storms.
For DRE property managers, the inclement weather is another story. “We do the best we can depending on what happens with the weather and how much we can prepare in advance,” says Amy Cherry, General Manager of The Town Center of Virginia Beach. The garage entrances and sidewalks are treated before any winter storms. However, it can be difficult to keep up with a lot of snow, even with the joint effort of the maintenance staff. “It’s up to the individual tenants if they decide to open, but we’ve found that most of the restaurants open on time, while the retailers usually delay, if they open at all,” Cherry says. “A lot of the residents will visit the restaurants, but we aren’t seeing much traffic from outside of Town Center during these storms.”
As for the construction of the new tower, as long as the roads are clear and the construction workers can get to work, the project continues. The job is far enough along where work can proceed during inclement weather.
While a lot of businesses will remain closed days after a storm, Divaris likes to open their office as soon as major roads have been plowed and travel conditions are safe. One year a major national retailer called on a snow day and no other brokerage firms were open except Divaris, and we won the business. Just goes to show a little bit of snow won’t stop DRE brokers from doing their job!