Case Studies

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE SPECIALISTS

    Click on any of the Case Studies below to learn more.

  • Becker Village Mall, Roanoke Rapids, NC

    HISTORY

    Becker Village Mall is the only mall in Roanoke Rapids’ 145,000 person metropolitan trade area. Under new ownership and with the help of Divaris Real Estate and Perkowitz & Ruth Architects, this Mall is prepared to undergo a major facelift.

    Becker Village Mall sits just off Interstate 95 and is located within 30 minutes of Lake Gaston and Roanoke Rapids Lake. Roanoke Rapids is a frequent stop for travelers along I-95, and the lakes bring many retirees and vacationers.

    Plans for Becker Village Mall’s renovation include re-merchandising with national retailers and restaurants, converting the face of the mall to read like a shopping center, and building a towne square complete with a main street and cinema in the back.

    Plans for Becker Village Mall’s renovation include remerchandising with national retailers and restaurants, converting the face of the mall to read like a shopping center, and building a towne square complete with a main street and cinema in the back.

    Anchored by JCPenney and Lowe’s Food, “The Mall” provides a safe, enclosed environment for the Roanoke Valley shoppers. Becker Village Mall pulls from a 30-mile radius trade area where Roanoke Rapids is the central hub of the region.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    In this struggling economy, Becker Village Mall can offer convert-to-suit spaces at below market rates. Many national retailers will be successful here since numerous use categories are unserved in this underserved market. This Mall is the heart of this community and the weekly civic and promotional events keep the locals coming back week after week.

    RESULTS

    The remerchandising of Becker Village Mall with the addition of a main street and cinema complex is a potential direction for this property. Divaris Real Estate is aiming to bring national retailers to the Mall while still sustaining its community spirit.

    The 320,000 sq. ft. mall has space available for several new anchors and junior anchors. Many new mall tenants have expressed interest in the Mall, and some new tenants have already opened, while many more are on their way.

    The Mall Leasing Agent and Development Consultant for Divaris Real Estate, Inc. is its Senior Vice President and Partner, John M. Knibb, who can be reached at (757) 366-5555 or jknibb@lddev.com.

  • Biltmore Square Mall, Asheville, NC

    HISTORY

    The 500,000 square foot Biltmore Square Mall in Asheville, North Carolina, is undergoing a major transformation. Though the existing structure will primarily stay intact, the content, focus and image of Biltmore Square is getting a much-needed renovation by Divaris Real Estate, Inc.

    Biltmore sits at the confluence of Interstates 26 and 40, and is located across from the Biltmore Estate. The Pisgah and Nathalla national forests are located nearby, as well as the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    The Asheville market attracts more than 13 million visitors annually and is one of the ‘Top 100’ places to live, as chosen by Relocate America in April 2007. It is also a ‘Top 15 Dream Town’ according to AARP.

    Asheville has a year-round population of more than 600,000 and the average annual income is approximately $60,000 per household. Also, the city is home to a high number of empty-nesters and part-time residents that have a second home in the area. These groups tend to have a higher disposable income.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    The whole picture, tourists plus affluent residents, lends itself very well to the repositioning of Biltmore Square to better fill that need for both residents and visitors alike.

    Asheville is currently lacking a high-end outlet and entertainment center. The fact that the city is so popular with tourists, coupled with the area’s demographics, makes the site a natural location for an outlet-oriented center.

    Plans for Biltmore Square Mall's renovation include high-end, off-price anchors, upscale outlets, expanded cinema, an entertainment-oriented component, high-end restaurants and a hotel.

    Plans for Biltmore Square Mall’s renovation include high-end, off-price anchors, upscale outlets, expanded cinema, an entertainment-oriented component, high-end restaurants and a hotel.

    RESULTS

    After an extensive study, the conversion of the former Biltmore Square regional mall into an upscale outlet/off-price center with an entertainment focus will be the best direction for the property. With little added to the mall, structurally, DRE is looking to bring in hotel and entertainment uses and to utilize some of the excess land.

    Preliminary contacts with prospective tenants have met with great excitement. An architectural team and cost estimators have started work on the project and an announcement of a new name, anchor tenants and its design is expected by early 2009.

    When the renovation is complete, the center will feature a high-end, off-price anchor, along with numerous upscale outlets. There is an existing cinema complex at the center, which the company is planning to expand. The merchandising mix is being directed to attract an entertainment-oriented hotel and a few high-end restaurants.

    Divaris is in the process of securing a funding source for the project through a private placement with prospective buyers, joint venture partners and financiers.

  • Landstown Commons, Virginia Beach, VA

    HISTORY

    What was once the gateway to the agricultural region of Virginia Beach, VA is now becoming the city’s hub of rapid growth. One 60.5-acre farm, situated on the northeast corner of Dam Neck and Princess Anne Roads showed exceptional potential. The site’s location was the prime attraction, in the high growth corridor where there was a definite lack of quality retail space nearby.

    Neighboring an area of high residential growth the site for Landstown Commons is adjacent to many traffic generators in the Princess Anne corridor, such as Virginia Beach’s Municipal Complex, Virginia Beach National golf course, the Farm Bureau Live Virginia Beach Amphitheater, the Sportsplex Stadium, the new Sentara Health Campus, the Advanced Learning Center, an adjunct campus of Norfolk State and Old Dominion universities, and the Virginia Beach Campus of Tidewater Community College.

    New retail and office developement where DRE represented both the Landlord and several Tenant Representative clients including 89,000-sf Kohl's, and junior anchors Ross Dress For Less, Bed Bath & Beyond, PetSmart, ULTA and Best Buy.

    New retail and office development where DRE represented both the Landlord and several Tenant Representative clients including 89,000 sf Kohl’s, and junior anchors Ross Dress For Less, Bed Bath & Beyond, PetSmart, ULTA and Best Buy.

    Further enhancing the possibility of the project’s success is the planned widening of Princess Anne Road and the proposed new Southeastern Expressway. This new interstate, when completed, will help alleviate some of the pressure on Interstate 264 and allow traffic on Princess Anne Road to flow more smoothly, while connecting Virginia Beach with Chesapeake. At this time, even without these upgrades, an estimated 50,000 vehicles pass by the property each day.

    SCOPE OF THE ASSIGNMENT

    Divaris Real Estate Inc. sold the land at the corner of Dam Neck and Princess Anne Roads to Florida-based developers, The Goodman Company, kicking off the area’s commercial transformation. A 500,000 square foot, mixed-use development was planned for construction. Complementing the retail component, the plans called for approximately 40,000 square feet of office space, located above first floor retail and easily accessible through an elevator lobby in the breezeway between the retail buildings in the courtyards shops.

    Divaris played a big part in introducing Goodman to the project and in getting it zoned for development. Soon after negotiations for the land sale were complete, The Goodman Co. selected local representation, naming DRE the exclusive leasing agent for both the retail and office space in Landstown Commons.

    RESULTS

    Upon completion in March 2008, the leasing for the retail space in Landstown Commons was 90 percent complete.

    The project includes national big box retailers Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, OfficeMax, PetSmart, Ross Dress for Less, A.C. Moore, Best Buy, Books-A-Million and several regional and local small shop retailers.

    The entire center is serviced by 2,455 parking spaces, interwoven with landscaped sidewalks. The park-like design is a first for Virginia Beach. In fact, the project’s excellence has been recognized with an award from the Virginia Beach City Planning Commission for its exceptional design.

  • Leisureworld Plaza, Silver Spring, MD

    HISTORY

    Leisure World of Maryland, a private, age restricted, gated community sitting on 610 acres in Montgomery County, offers amenities that include an 18-hole golf course, two clubhouses, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, dining facilities, bus transportation, a medical center and pharmacy. Situated around the perimeter of Leisure World, the largest senior community in the D.C. metropolitan area, lies the Divaris-leased and –managed Leisureworld Plaza Shopping Center and Professional Building located at 3801 International Drive in Silver Spring, MD. The landlord of the properties is Rossmoor IDI Commercial.

    IDI Group Companies, developers of the largest and most successful communities in the D.C. area, built into the master plan to develop a shopping center in the area. Leisureworld Plaza is the perfect complement to Leisure World. The fact that it was built right on campus is a bonus, providing an amenity to better market the housing project as well as to serve the entire community.

    Leisureworld Plaza is one of the premier properties in its market. The center serves Leisure World and its 7,500 senior residents as well as upper Silver Spring, Rockville and Olney, Maryland — all upper-middle class areas.  The upscale center offers customers everything from medical services to grocery shopping to casual dining.

    Upscale,110,000-square-foot center anchored by a Giant grocery store and 56,000 square feet of office space.

    Upscale,110,000 square foot center anchored by a Giant grocery store and 56,000 square feet of office space.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    Leisureworld Plaza and Professional Building are comprised of 110,513 square feet of retail space and 56,294 square feet of office space, situated adjacent to Leisure World of Maryland. Tenants in the shopping center include Burger King, Chevy Chase Bank, Giant and Starbucks. Office building tenants include: Community Radiology and Sandy Spring National Bank.

    Anchored by a 55,000 square foot Giant grocery store, Leisureworld Plaza also has such notable tenants as Honeybaked Ham, Weichert Realty and GNC.  Additional services include a dry cleaner, shoe store, jewelry/gift store, and several restaurants.  The center houses a total of five banks and a post office.

    A 33,600 square foot professional building with an outpatient surgical center, doctors’ offices, x-ray imaging center and a bank completes the mix.

    About 50 percent of the center’s business is from Leisure World’s residents, and the other half is from the surrounding neighborhoods, which include a growing mix of upscale, single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes. As the community grows, so does Leisureworld Plaza.

    RESULTS

    One of Leisureworld Plaza’s best features is the landscaping. Dreyfuss, the owners insist that the property is always well maintained because it must reflect the standards of the Leisure World community. Large beds of seasonal and perennial flowers adorn entrances.  Clean, well lit parking and sidewalk areas are bordered by manicured plantings of evergreens, ornamentals and ground covers.

    The beautiful décor and complementary tenant assortment has consistently attracted a better group of customers to Leisureworld, therefore enabling us to achieve significantly higher rents than the other centers in the market it serves.

    The complex remains at 100 percent occupancy with the renewal of leases totaling 17,324 square feet of retail and office space. The Surgery Center of Maryland LLC, an outpatient surgery center, renewed its lease for 11,524 square feet of office space in Leisure World Professional Building. Renewing leases for retail space in Leisure World Plaza were Goldcastle Jewelers, Provident Bank and the U.S. Postal Service.

    Whether shopping, banking or dining, Leisureworld Plaza is a safe, friendly place to be. Leisureworld provides customers with a variety of uses. It’s the perfect tenant mix to accommodate people of all ages.

  • Lynnwood Plaza, Virginia Beach, VA

    HISTORY

    This building was developed by a merchant builder who sold it to a German pension fund upon completion. In order to achieve an 80 percent occupancy at sale, the builder had offered the tenants extraordinary incentives, such as extended periods of free rent, generous build-outs and, in some cases, cash payments.

    96,000 sf Class A suburban office building Virginian Beach, Virginia

    96,000 s.f. class A suburban office building Virginia Beach, Virginia

    After several years of operations, and a falling market, the German pension fund turned the building back to the lender (Travelers) at a substantial loss. The lender hired Divaris Real Estate, Inc. and Divaris Property Management Corp. to assist in the repositioning of this asset and the lease up of a near vacant building.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    The lender took back the building via a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Their game plan was to reposition the building to make it as competitive as possible, lease it up and sell it. We were appointed to assist with the following:

      • Survey the building from a physical standpoint. This included attractiveness, functionality and operating economics.
      • Analyze existing leases and stabilize occupancy.
      • Conduct a market study and provide a time line in a program to re-tenant the property.
      • Engage an architect and develop a renovation program to make the building more competitive with the market.
      • Develop an energy management program.

    After renovation, tenant stabilization and re-tenanting, sell the property at 90 percent occupancy.

    RESULTS

    We determined that the HVAC system had no controls and therefore was costing substantially more to operate than necessary. We developed specifications, bid out and installed a state of the art energy management system reducing energy costs by 35 percent. We met with every tenant and renegotiated every lease, stabilizing existing tenants. We engaged an architect and developed a building renovation plan that included:

    • New exterior landscaping.
    • New front entrance.
    • Accent lights on exterior.
    • Installation of attractive architectural features to the building.
    • The building has a five-story atrium, so we removed walls from suites that faced the atrium and replaced them with floor to ceiling windows, which opened the suites up.
    • Removed old wall coverings in atrium and replaced with attractive wood.
    • Created and installed a fountain in the center court of atrium.
    • Subdivided part of atrium and installed a café.
    • Installed new ceiling throughout common area.
    • Retrofitted all lights with electronic ballasts and energy efficient lights.
    • Conducted an aggressive marketing campaign that resulted in landing a full floor (20,000 sf) tenant, hospital owned HMO.
    • Developed and implemented a marketing program that leased up the vacant spaces at top market rates.
    • Developed a sales program that resulted in owner recouping previous unpaid balance of mortgage plus renovation costs resulting in a double digit return.
  • Oceana Place, Virginia Beach, VA

    HISTORY

    A local developer teamed up with a life insurance company to develop the building. The building was built based on leases from two tenants, GMAC and Allstate Insurance Company. These two tenants leased full floors for their regional offices. In addition, a 2,500 square foot drive-through auto claims adjusting building was built for Allstate. The insurance company became the sole owner when it split with its development partner. Divaris Real Estate was retained by the insurance company to lease and manage the property.

    Shortly afterward, the insurance company sold their entire portfolio to Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette. We continue to lease and manage the property.

    448 Viking Drive, Virginia Beach, VA. 76,000 s.f. class A suburban office building.

    448 Viking Drive, Virginia Beach, VA. 76,000 s.f. class A suburban office building.

    GMAC scaled back operations, and Allstate left the building, which resulted in DRE being asked to develop a plan to re-tenant the building.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    • Look at physical aspect of property and determine if it is still competitive with other first class buildings. If not, then develop an upgrade plan.
    • Research and prepare a marketing plan to re-tenant the building.
    • Review operations to identify any economies.
    • Contact all remaining tenants and renegotiate current leases.
    • Evaluate drive-through claims building and develop plan for future use.

     

    RESULTS

    We concluded that physically the building was attractive and needed no structural changes; however, interior finishes needed upgrading. Accordingly, we proceeded with the following:

    • The atrium floor is very large and had a nondescript carpet cover. We designed a center floor focal point made of granite. We used a light ceramic block tile for borders.
    • The lighting in the atrium was only through recessed down lights. We picked and installed a chandelier to be hung over the center floor granite focal point.
    • We replaced all common area hallway carpet and wall covering.
    • We replaced all interior plants and pots with higher quality materials.
    • We replaced the painted store front type doors with polished chrome doors.
    • Our leasing team researched the entire market to re-market the property. This plan included broker functions to get the brokerage community involved. In the end, the property was retenanted by our in-house leasing team.
    • We reviewed energy consumption and rebid all vendor contracts. We were able to reduce costs through new controls on the chiller and the use of new vendors for cleaning and grounds.
    • Our leasing team met with existing tenants and renegotiated all leases. For two large tenants, we were able to expand them and lengthen the remaining terms on their leases.
    • We looked at several options for the drive-through claims office. In the end we settled on two uses that would serve the buildings’ tenants and solidify tenant retention. We created a workout facility in part of the space. In this area, we installed state of the art fitness equipment, lockers, etc. In the other part of the building, we created a conference center where tenants could hold large meetings accommodating up to 40 people at a time.

    The building is now 95 percent leased and the owner is now in a position to decide whether to sell the asset.

  • netp@rk.tampabay, Tampa, FL

    HISTORY

    Eastlake Mall was originally built in 1976 as a traditional regional retail mall by the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation. In 1996, John Hancock Life Insurance Company took ownership of the property and assigned Divaris Real Estate, Inc. the task of devising a strategic plan to transform the mall into a performing asset. After careful research of market conditions, the retail climate, and the competition, Divaris Real Estate recommended that the mall be converted to a complex that caters to back office, support-type tenants. The seeds for netpark@tampabay were sown.

    netparktb-1

    895,679 rentable square feet in Tampa, Florida

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    Divaris Real Estate’s assignment was to redevelop the regional mall into a suburban office complex that caters to back office support and call center tenants. Since 1998, Divaris Real Estate has lead the team that accomplished the following initiatives:

    • Purchased the anchor store parcels, renegotiated the anchor tenants’ operating agreements, and vacated the entire mall of all tenants.
    • Rezoned the property, an 18-month process.
    • Developed and implemented the renovation plans to create a million square foot, campus- type office building environment. This process included a total makeover of the facility, creation of interior walls, the placement of large exterior windows throughout, new HVAC, electrical, life safety, lighting, plumbing, and energy management systems. The renovation also included new interior and exterior entrances, landscaping, a new parking lot, parking deck, and directory signage.
    • Secured the amenity package, including redundant power and looped fiber optics, internet access, an on-site daycare center, a fitness center, an executive food service, a video conference and teleconference center, parking shuttles, planned walking trails and softball fields.

     

    RESULTS

    Currently, netp@rk.tampabay is approximately 65 percent leased. The tenant roster includes General Motors, Merck Medco, Alltel, John Hancock Financial Services, Marriott Vacation Club, Lykes Lines, New Horizons Learning Centers, Hillsborough County, and the Florida Division of Motor Vehicles.

    Netp@rk.tampabay was designated the 1999 NAIOP Outstanding Rehab Project of the Year.

  • Severna Park Marketplace, Severna, MD

    HISTORY

    John Hancock Life Insurance Company appointed Divaris Real Estate as the leasing and management company for the former Severna Park Mall, a vacant 300,000 square foot enclosed community shopping center anchored by Giant and Caldor. Giant operated a 30,000 square foot grocery store and Caldor had recently filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Strong demographics in the immediate trade area and high traffic patterns supported a redevelopment of the shopping center.

    Severna Park, MD, 300,000 s.f. power center was renovated and re-tenanted.

    Severna Park, MD, 300,000 s.f. power centerwas renovated and re-tenanted.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    Divaris Real Estate was asked to create and implement a strategic plan for redeveloping the shopping center. This plan included the following initiatives:

    • Demolishing the former interior mall space and relocating Giant from its current 30,000 square foot space to an adjacent 63,000 square foot space. The new premises was to be located where the former mall space had been.
    • Renovate the parking lot, relocate the main entrances to the property, renovate the buildings, create new landscaping, signage, and service areas. The renovation also included new utilities, life safety systems, and common areas.
    • Re-tenant the vacant spaces, including three new large retail spaces and numerous smaller specialty stores

     

    RESULTS

    Severna Park Marketplace’s transformation is complete. The shopping center has been renovated and remerchandised with such notable tenants as Kohl’s, Old Navy, Office Depot, Giant, Atlanta Bread Company, Bath & Body Works, Hallmark, and EB GameWorld. The center is currently under contract for sale at an 8.75% cap rate.

  • Springfield Mall, Fairfax, VA

    HISTORY

    Springfield Mall opened its doors in 1972 and, despite overwhelming density and wealth in the primary trade area, the mall has not captured its share of the market potential. The three-story mall is situated on 79 acres of land and is anchored by Macy’s, Target and JCPenney.

    Springfield Mall will undergo an upgrade, remerchandising and expansion program to add a mixed-use component.

    Springfield Mall will undergo an upgrade, remerchandising and expansion program to add a mixed-use component.

    The mall has always enjoyed the main ingredients for a successful mall, most notably the best location in the Northern Virginia market. It sits at the intersection of Interstate 95 at the Capital Beltway (I-395 and I-495), Fairfax County Parkway and Franconia-Springfield Parkway. The access and road system is superior to any mall in Northern Virginia. The Commonwealth of Virginia and the federal government have spent several billion dollars completing a highway ramp system commonly known as “the mixing bowl,” and this has enhanced access to the mall even more.

    Additionally, Springfield Town Center is one of the only shopping areas in metropolitan Washington, D.C. to have its own Metro Station. The metro stop at Springfield Town Center is the terminus of the Metro Blue Line and the Fredericksburg Commuter Rail Road from the south. A shuttle leaves every 15 minutes from the Franconia Springfield Station, to the mall.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    The demographics of Springfield Town Center’s primary trade area include a projected population base of 580,000 residents and 220,945 households by 2009. The fact that there are 580,000 people in the primary market area is huge positive. Also by 2009, the average household income is expected to exceed $111,600, in its primary market area. This is evidence of the incredible density coupled with the substantial wealth of Washington, D.C.’s Northern Virginia suburbs. In addition, there is a daytime population of over 1.5 million workers within 15 miles of the site.

    In 2002, Fairfax County received title to 2,324 acres of the former D.C. Correctional Facility at Lorton (three miles south of Springfield Mall). This acquisition has opened a large area to rapid development of upscale housing, parks and schools. And recently, Fairfax County and the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) have created more research and development opportunities in the immediate area, improving the daytime population in the market even further.

    Fairfax County has committed their support to this major redevelopment and mixed-use project because of the existing highway infrastructure and the metro stop. Fairfax County’s strategy has been to allow greater density in areas adjacent to Metro Stations to encourage use of the metro.

    In 2006, Vornado Realty Trust, a Paramus, N.J. real estate investment trust, took control of the partnership that owned Springfield Mall and its management. Vornado is one of the largest owners and managers of commercial real estate in the country. Vornado instituted major changes to housekeeping, security, and the operations of the mall as they developed the master plan for the redevelopment. Divaris Real Estate was retained by Vornado as the retail development consultant.

    RESULTS

    In order to take advantage of the area’s potential, the interior of Springfield Mall will be upgraded and expanded to include a town center/lifestyle component, increasing the existing 1.4 million square feet to approximately 1.9 million square feet. Once finished, the Springfield Town Center will feature a completely remerchandised mall, a new streetscape with lifestyle retailers and specialty restaurants, new office buildings, hotels, multi-family residential towers and additional parking structures.

    The new tenant mix will include an upgrade of all merchandise categories from moderate to better retailers, including junior anchors, a new, state-of-the-art multi-screen cinema complex and a food court area. A new exterior lifestyle streetscape component will be introduced along the Loisdale Road frontage with a mix of retailers, restaurants and outdoor cafes fronting each other to create a more urban environment. In the future, as demand builds, offices and residential buildings will be integrated into the decks and mall structures.

  • State College Town Center, State College, PA

    HISTORY

    S&A Homes in State College and Divaris Real Estate formed a team to develop a “College Town Center” at the center of a 1,250 acre planned community in State College, PA, the home of Penn State University. S&A Homes had extensive multi-state residential and commercial experience, but the complexity of this Town Center was new to them.

    S&A had plans to create a town center in the master planned community adjacent to the Toftrees Country Club and Golf Course. DRE and S&A Homes teamed up on the mixed-use development, which will result in the largest lifestyle Town Center between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and one of the first of its kind in a Big Ten college town in the country.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    DRE set forth to determine the viability of a mixed-use development with retail, entertainment, residential, office, cultural and civic components.

    College towns will be at the forefront of growth for the next ten to 20 years, as the two largest segments of the U.S. population, the “Baby Boomers” and the college bound “Echo Boomers,” intersect and converge.

    These two population bubbles, coupled with more than two million direct visitors to State College every year, represent three hidden economic engines for college towns that do not show up in the U.S. Census or any demographic research from data providers and demographers.

    State College Town Center at Toftrees is a mixed-use development comprised of lifestyle retail, entertainment, townhomes and ’game day’ condominiums.

    State College Town Center at Toftrees is a mixed-use development comprised of lifestyle retail, entertainment, townhomes and ’game day’ condominiums.

    The 42,700 Penn State students come from households with average household incomes of over $100,000, while Penn State’s direct visitors (many from the 175,000 Penn State Baby Boomer alumni) are a highly educated, affluent group themselves. By 2010, the impact of the university’s students, the visitors and the Baby Boomer alumni will contribute over $1 billion to the State College economy.

    With all that Penn State brings to the community, including a marketplace that draws 650,000 people from a 50-mile radius, State College was determined to be a great place to build a mixed-use Town Center. The project will increase the quality of life in State College with new-to-the-market retailers and restaurants, while creating an environment for civic and cultural events.

    RESULTS

    In August 2010, the State College Town Center at Toftrees, will open to serve the 650,000 local residents, 42,700 Penn State University students and over two million direct visitors to Central Pennsylvania. The 62-acre mixed-use development located in State College will be a magnet for anyone looking to shop, eat, live and play.

    The concept includes an upscale, retail lifestyle center surrounded by 4,690 residential units, including the six villages surrounding the Town Center with single-family homes, townhomes, “game day” condos and multi-family residential units for visitors, alumni, and residents attracted to the sports, cultural and academic activities in State College and at Penn State University.

    The topography of the site will allow upscale residences to overlook the golf course from a 200-foot elevation. According to Divaris, it’s “an example of smart growth that reduces suburban sprawl.”

    The Town Center will also benefit from the completion in 2008 of the north-south extension of Interstate 99 (currently Routes 220 and 322), connecting to the east-west Interstate 80. The Town Center will have access from Interstate 99 directly into its site.

    The Town Center portion of the master planned development will be built in three phases. Phase 1 is scheduled to open in August 2010 with 200,000 square feet of upscale, lifestyle retail and restaurants. The three phases of retail will comprise a 540,000 square foot upscale, lifestyle retail center; an entertainment district with ten restaurants; and several hotels.

  • St. Charles Towne Centre, St. Charles, IL

    HISTORY

    With the transformation of the “Tri-Cities” and the west Chicago suburban markets into the “next Oak Brook”? Sho-deen Inc. tore down their St. Charles Mall in order to develop a mixed-use town center that would meet the current and future needs of the area’s expanding, affluent population.

    The population in Chicago’s far western suburbs is expected to double in size from the 1990’s population of 407,000 to 814,000, by 2012. The growth rate from the 1990 census to the 2000 census was 40.5 percent, with an estimated growth from 2000 to 2007 of 25.5 percent, and from 2007 to 2012 of 13.4 percent. It is believed that this dramatic growth rate may have been underestimated by the national research services and the true population may be closer to one million people by 2012.

    This explosive growth in the western suburbs of Chicago has been not only in population, but also in its affluence. Because land for new, upscale subdivisions is plentiful in these suburbs, as the population matures into its peak earning years, residents will continue to move into more upscale housing. This trend toward a greater number of affluent households is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. The current average household income is $103,400 and it is expected to reach $120,000 by 2012. In addition to the area residents, there are 216,000 daytime workers within a 10-mile radius of St. Charles and 1,056,000 daytime workers within 20 miles.

    This 25-acre project with 300,000 s.f. of upscale restaurants, retail and office space and 900 residential units is the first mixed-use development in the "Tri-Cities" of St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia, in the western suburbs of Chicago.

    This 25 acre project with 300,000 s.f. of upscale restaurants, retail and office space and 900 residential units is the first mixed-use development in the “Tri-Cities” of St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia, in the western suburbs of Chicago.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    Plans to fulfill the upscale shopping and dining needs of the existing and future population of one of the nation’s fastest growing regions have resulted in St. Charles Towne Centre , the first mixed-use town center development to serve the “Tri-Cities” area of St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia, as well as other far western suburbs of Chicago. The former St. Charles Mall location will become the site of a 25 acre project that will include 280,000 square feet of upscale retail and restaurants, in addition to 900 residential units, two hotels, and 100,000 square feet of office space.

    RESULTS

    The tenant mix of St. Charles Towne Centre will complement Geneva Common’s existing offerings, with additional upscale retail and new-to-the-market, destination restaurants, a specialty grocer and entertainment components.

    Unlike the design of the Geneva Commons, which is essentially a strip center, St. Charles Towne Centre’s main street format will foster pedestrian connectivity, interactivity and retail synergism. The center will include upscale lifestyle retailers that not only draw from well outside the 20-mile radius, but also will offer first class amenities throughout the property, from valet parking to a fitness facility and specialty grocery store, making St. Charles Towne Centre a highly coveted address.

  • Surplus Property Dispositions, Throughout East Coast

    HISTORY

    GROUP 1: We were engaged by a group of five institutions to take control of and dispose of 14 closed former Hechinger/Home Quarters Warehouse stores. The properties were located from Syracuse, New York to South Carolina.

    GROUP 2: We represented Hannaford Brothers, Inc., a large Portland, Maine based supermarket chain to handle acquisition of new sites for expansions in Virginia, North and South Carolina. After successfully finding suitable locations for Hannaford, the chain merged into Food Lion, but only after consenting to a Justice Department requirement that all Hannaford stores in Virginia, North and South Carolina be closed and sold. We were engaged to handle the disposition of their 30 stores.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    • Took charge of every site.
    • Secured buildings, insured that all fire and burglary systems including sprinklers were operational.
    • Arranged for and placed insurance.
    • Cleaned interior and exterior of stores.
    • Hired vendors for on-going maintenance.
    • Arranged for set up of necessary utilities.
    • Prepared marketing materials.
    • Contacted potential national and local users.
    • Reported to clients monthly.
    • Provided full contract negotiation.
    • Provided Sell/Lease advisory services.
    • Highest and best use studies.
    • Obtained marketable title.
    • Managed the legal process through the bankruptcy court.
    • Provided full asset management.
    • Resolved several years’ worth of CAM disputes.
    • Sold all sites and recovered 100 percent of investment.
    • Appealed all tax assessments.

     

    RESULTS

    • Found numerous stores where the former occupant had left display racks and equipment. We arranged for auctions to dispose of items. Maintained all stores in showable condition.
    • Negotiated sales of 12 of the 17 Hechinger/Home Quarters Warehouse stores to retailers such as Sears, Home Depot, Burlington Coat Factory and Kohl’s.
    • Disposed of numerous Hannaford stores either through sale or lease.
    • Investment recouped, tax appeals successful, taxes refunded. Collected administrative claims from Bankruptcy Court.
  • The Town Center of Virginia Beach, Virginia Beach, VA

    HISTORY

    Turn over 24 acres of wooded land at the intersection of two of the MSA’s busiest thoroughfares into a $800 million public-private partnership where, ultimately, 24,000 people will live and work.

    Gerald Divaris has worked closely with city officials and the Central Business District Association for more than two decades to see this vision come to life. The landmark development in Virginia’s largest city broke ground in the summer of 2000. A team comprising the principals of Armada Hoffler Holding Company and the executives of Divaris Real Estate are developing the project.

    The “backbone” infrastructrual improvements, including the fountain plaza and the internal roads, were completed by the City of Virginia Beach as part of phase one.

    TownCenter1

    two million square foot, mixed-use development that stretches across 17 city blocks in the heart of Virginia Beach’s CBD, at Pembroke.

    The Pembroke area has been zoned as Virginia Beach’s Central Business District since 1973. The City later followed up with additional zoning changes, to discourage any incompatible development. The zoning allows for off-site parking, pedestrian walkways, urban-style piazzas, mixed uses and other typical urban center capabilities. The area is looked at as Virginia Beach’s metropolitan center for business, entertainment and cultural activities.

    The Town Center’s location is 11 miles from downtown Norfolk, 11 miles from the oceanfront, 7.5 miles from the Chesapeake Bay, and 7.5 miles from Virginia Beach’s Municipal Center. This puts The Town Center equidistant from 85 percent of the region’s population.

    The area commands the highest occupancy rates in the region, the greatest sales per square foot and the second largest bank deposit activity in the Commonwealth of Virginia. All of these factors are evidence of the strong demand for this central location that has over 280,000 people currently living within five miles.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    Located on a site bounded by Virginia Beach Boulevard, Constitution Drive, Columbus Street and Independence Boulevard, The Town Center is an urban town center comprising Class A, high rise office buildings and high-end retail stores, three hotels, a luxury, high rise apartment complex and a performing arts center. The project is supported by several multi-level, enclosed parking garages, offering free parking for more than 3,200 vehicles. To top everything off, the development includes a fountain plaza as its centerpiece, surrounded by restaurants and entertainment facilities.

    RESULTS

    Now fully into phase V of construction, 13 of the 17 city blocks are completed. Recongizable from all corners of the region, at 500 feet, The Westin Hotel and Residences at The Town Center of Virginia Beach is the tallest building between Philadelphia and Charlotte, NC. Because of the spectacular views and amenities offered by The Westin, the 119 condos are 80 percent sold. The 232-room Westin also boasts a lobby with a chic, European design, lighting and a water feature below a glass staircase.

    The Sandler Center for the Performing Arts raised its curtain in 2007 in The Town Center. It is Virginia Beach’s performing arts centerpiece, a professional quality, first-class facility that showcases local, regional and international performing artists. The Sandler Center features a state-of-the-art, 1,300-seat auditorium with perfect sight lines, incredible sound and a three-story atrium.

    McCormick & Schmick’s seafood restaurant is one of the many best-in-class eateries located within the 17 city blocks of The Town Center. Others include: Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Gordon Biersch Brew Pub, Red Star Tavern, California Pizza Kitchen, Bravo! Cucina Italiana, The Funny Bone Comedy Club and Restaurant, Sonoma Wine Bar and Bistro, Daily Grind Unwind, Cold Stone Creamery, Confetti Gelato & Crepe Cafe, Zushi Japanese Bistro, Guadalajara Mexican restaurant, Saffron Indian Bistro, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, and Keagan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant.

    The restaurants in The Town Center of Virginia Beach reinforce pedestrian traffic to the expanding roster of retail tenants. Retailers Cache’, Origins and Johnston & Murphy are the latest to join the two million square foot Town Center. Other retailers in the development include: Brooks Brothers, Ann Taylor Loft, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sunglass Hut, Men’s Wearhouse, f.y.e., The Royal Chocolate, Eclectic Design and Florists, and Sumatra Salon and Spa. The completed retail space is approximately 88 percent leased and occupied.

    As successful as the restaurants and retailers are in the development, perhaps the biggest success story in The Town Center of Virginia Beach is the leasing of class A office space. The six office buildings, totaling 535,000 square feet, are 100 percent occupied. Phase III construction was sped up to meet market demand and in the fall of 2008, a new brick and glass office building, Two Columbus Center, opened, adding over 100,000 square feet of office and retail space.

  • Town Point Center, Norfolk, VA

    HISTORY

    This building was built in the early 1990’s on a major downtown thoroughfare overlooking the Elizabeth River. The site was small and therefore there was only room for 24 parking spaces on the first floor.

    The building was developed by a local developer in partnership with a major local ship repair firm. The ship repair firm moved its headquarters into the building and occupied 40 percent of the net rentable area over four floors. There was also a bank with a retail branch on the first floor and regional executive offices on the second floor. In addition, there was a restaurant on the second floor. The developer had moved his firm, including its brokerage division, to the third floor.

    145,000 s.f., 11-story class A downtown office building in Norfolk, Virginia.

    The economy soured and the ship repair business dried up, forcing the ship repair firm to declare bankruptcy and go out of business. The building was foreclosed upon by the lender, a large insurance company. One additional wrinkle was that the building was sitting on ground that was leased under an unsubordinated ground lease.

    When the insurance company was about to take title, a competition for leasing and management was held and Divaris Real Estate was chosen. We assigned a top leasing agent to market the property.

    When the bankrupt ship repair firm vacated, so did the developer and his brokerage company. Soon thereafter, the restaurant left, not able to survive financially, as well as two law firms. A year after the foreclosure, the bank was bought out and moved both the executive offices and the first floor branch. When stabilized, the building occupancy was at 30 percent.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    • Meet all tenants and stabilize occupancy.
    • Develop marketing plan for building. This plan is to include incentives, competitive tenant improvements and rental rates.
    • Prepare all vacancies for showing as the bankrupt former owner had left their spaces in disrepair.
    • Survey the building for the status and condition of all physical elements.
    • Prepare plan for all necessary upgrades.

     

    RESULTS

    We went through all vacancies and brought them to a vanilla finish. This included the former restaurant. The restaurant operator had left much of their FF&E on site and we had to dispose of it. We found a local restaurateur who purchased the FF&E, recovering some of the back rent the restaurant owed the building owner.

    The leasing team began a major effort to lease space, canvassing all surrounding downtown buildings, all local office parks, marketing nationally, and through the media. We landed a two floor engineering firm, a top floor investment firm, two law firms and a national headquarters for a bulk paper company. Eventually, we were able to get occupancy back up to 85 percent.

    When the original primary owner got into financial difficulty, all basic and preventive maintenance came to a halt. We renegotiated all vendor contracts, remodeled the lobby with new wall coverings, new lighting, and installed a weather station. We changed out the 150-ton chiller to a more efficient Trane chiller, including an energy management system. There were extensive marble floors in all elevator lobbies. We had all of them crystallized. The building became very efficient and showed well.

    When the insurance company foreclosed on the property, they wrote it down to $6.0 million. Four years after that, with the occupancy back up to 85 percent, and the building in great physical and operational shape, we were assigned the task of selling it, which we did for over $12.0 million.

  • The Village at Valley Forge, King of Prussia, PA

    HISTORY

    The Village at Valley Forge, a joint venture between The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. and Realen Properties, is the first of its kind of mixed-used, pedestrian-oriented “town center” in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

    The location of The Village at Valley Forge is a key component to the project’s success. The site is situated in the heart of the King of Prussia market and will draw on the strength of the King of Prussia Mall, one of the largest and preeminent retail centers in the country, surrounded by the highest demographics in the region.

    VillageValleyForge

    DRE is charged with identifying and leasingdistinctive, upscale retailers for The Village at Valley Forge,a mixed-use development in King of Prussia, PA.

    The 125 acre site is situated at the confluence of, and has direct access to and from, four of the region’s most important highways, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Interstate 76, Route 422 and Route 202. It is located in the heart of suburban Philadelphia’s most important employment center, which features 16 million square feet of office space.

    SCOPE OF ASSIGNMENT

    Divaris Real Estate heads up the leasing team for the project that has been planned as a high-density, ‘New Urbanist,’ pedestrian-oriented community of retail, office, entertainment, hospitality and residential uses, all integrated in a manner which encourages walking as the preferred means of transportation, on site.

    In addition to its prime location, The Village at Valley Forge is different from other retail developments due to its design and content. The project is designed as a mixed-use lifestyle center, or ‘village,’ with its own town center. Retail stores, boutiques, restaurants, entertainment, office space, residential housing and hotel projects are all part of the planned uses for the development. Other unique features include a system of lakes and water features as well as open areas, piazzas, a town square and an amphitheater for both shoppers and residents to enjoy.

    The tightly woven fabric of this development will maximize the amount of green space and embody many of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Best Management Practice, such as ponds, rain gardens, recycling of rainwater for irrigation, bike trails, shuttle bus stops and an innovative storm water management system designed to recharge the groundwater.

    RESULTS

    The one million square foot, mixed-use Village at Valley Forge will feature retail and office space, up to 3,000 residential units, and two hotels with up to 500 rooms. Construction is currently underway at this highly anticipated project. The first phase of 425,000 square feet of retail space is underway with completion scheduled for the middle of 2010 and a grand opening in summer 2011.

    The second phase will be constructed in stages thereafter, with new sections opening as they are completed. Its merchandise mix is focused on four major components: food; entertainment and recreation; home goods and furniture; and fashion starting out in phase one with active wear.

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