Divaris Real Estate helps businesses find the ideal location through tenant representation



When Jon Pruden was looking to grow his business, he reached out to Divaris Real Estate for help.

 Divaris, headquartered in Virginia Beach, helps guide businesses to find the best locations for their ventures through its tenant representation.

“If there’s a growing retailer who’s expanding, we’re helping them find ideal places for them to be,” said Dona Hall, Divaris’ director of corporate communications and research.

Hall explained a representative will research the competition, population, expected growth potential in an area, market fluctuations and best deals for leasing, buying or building properties.

“We’re the person they hire to represent their interests,” Hall said. “We do the site selection, demographics, reporting, mapping and negotiating with potential landlords – all the way to signing of the lease for them.”

That’s what Pruden, president of TASTE, found when he sought tenant representation from Divaris. Pruden said he has worked closely with Sezin Cortinas, vice president of retail leasing and sales for Divaris, for several years.

“The services provided truly run the gamut, from providing demographic/market data, fielding inquiries from landlords and developers, prioritizing our needs, site selection, lease negotiation and as an ongoing liaison in the landlord-tenant relationship,” Pruden said. “Sezin takes a sincere, personal interest in our business, and that has borne fruit in the real estate decisions we have made and the deals that have been struck.”

Opened in Virginia Beach in 1973 by Peter Coe, Pruden took over TASTE in 2006. Since then, the business has grown to include seven locations plus Borjo Coffeehouse. Two more locations – one in Ghent and one in Richmond – are on the way.

“We have many, many years of real estate transactions prior to working with Divaris,” Pruden said. “As a former lawyer, I used to believe that TASTE did not need a real estate firm to represent our interests. I now believe that working with the right real estate professional has tremendous value, and we are a better company as a result.”

In Hampton Roads, Divaris has secured eight Ross Dress for Less locations; six stores each for Best Buy, Kohl’s, fiveBelow and ULTA; four for rue21 and TASTE; and three each for Dick’s Sporting Goods, DSW Shoe Warehouse and UFC Gym.

 Cortinas represented IKEA in the leasing of a 331,000-square-foot store that will open in Norfolk in the summer of 2018.

Firehouse Subs has had abundant growth with Divaris’ tenant representation. To date, it has opened 12 locations in the region.

Overall, Divaris represents about 100 clients throughout the mid-Atlantic, Southeast and throughout the U.S.

“A lot of times it’s a relationship that lasts for many years,” Hall said.

Gerald Divaris, chairman and CEO of Divaris Real Estate, reiterated that sentiment in a news release.

“Tenant representation is being a part of a company and trying to help them with their store deployment strategy, while getting a good education and understanding of the dynamics of each market,” Divaris said. “It’s not just performing a job for a client and never seeing them again. You have to understand their business and how they fit into the local retail scene. It really, truly is an ongoing relationship.”

By Sandra J. Pennecke – sandra.pennecke@insidebiz.com