OBX Commercial Real Estate Newsletter: May 2022

by Larry Lombardi, on May 6, 2022 8:00:00 AM

Erica Rorrer

OBX CRE Spotlight

Erica Rorrer (Meekins)

Executive Vice President and Associate Broker

7 Hills Advisors CREQ

Quick Facts

  • Born in Raleigh, NC and raised in Virginia Beach
  • After starting my professional career in Atlanta, GA, I returned to Virginia Beach to join the leasing team for The Town Center of Virginia Beach when the project was in its infancy. Only two blocks had been built at that time and now The Town Center spans 17-city blocks
  • I met my better half in my mid-30s and have been married for 8 years
  • We have a five year old son who keeps us young at heart and a red lab who keeps us on our toes

How long have you been working in commercial real estate?

Almost 18 years.
How did you first get into real estate?
While living in Atlanta, I was working for Ernst & Young and I didn’t know commercial real estate was a career. I remember driving down 10th Ave in Midtown and seeing a Caribou Coffee under construction. I thought, why are they putting a coffee shop on that corner? It should go on the other corner.
A light bulb went off and I did a little asking around and found out this is something I really wanted to do! I was lucky my next career brought me back home to Virginia.

What was your first CRE transaction?

I represented a Haagen-Dazs franchisee in opening his first location.
What was your most memorable CRE transaction?
I love "first-to-the-market" deals. When I can say I negotiated the deal that brought Yard House to Virginia. Or PF Chang's to Newport News, or Wegmans to King of Prussia, PA, I get really excited.
If I had to choose one deal, I think my most memorable would be working on the team that signed Wegmans in King of Prussia. That particular transaction felt like a game-changer for my career.
What's your favorite part of working in CRE?
I love the creativity the job requires and how every day is different. Every deal is different. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the game can change in an instant.
If you had to sell only ONE kind of commercial property, what would you choose? And why?
If I took the word "sell" literally, I would sell shopping centers. The retail business is what I know best at this time in my career and I enjoy investment sales. After doing ground up development work for mostly mixed-use projects for most of my career, I have made a switch to only doing tenant representation about three months ago.
I’ve also expanded my focus from retail, to medical and office as well. I really enjoy working the tenant side.
What's the first question people always ask you when you tell them what you do for a living?
"Is now a good time to sell my house?" HA! I've started answer the question with a more detailed explanation because it wasn't so long ago that I didn't know that this industry existed either.
What’s the biggest misconception about CRE?
That deals happen as fast as they do in residential real estate. I've worked on some deals that were on-and-off, on-and-off for 10 years before they were inked, built, and the store was open.
What global CRE trend or market segment do you think will have the most impact locally?
The pandemic and our use of technology during the pandemic. Work places, shopping experiences, restaurants, will never be the same, in a good way!
How would you describe the commercial real estate market in northeastern NC and the Outer Banks?
Active! More and more retailers are paying attention to the Outer Banks and have an interest in being there.
But the Barrier Island has many barriers to enter for most retailers. Cost of construction, land constraints, sometimes septic system limitations, all will help keep the rental rates healthy in OBX.
Can you share one great piece of advice for someone looking to buy/lease commercial property or land?
You don't know what you don't know. Don't try to be your own attorney to save a couple of bucks. Hire the right agent for the job, one with a lot of experience in the product you are buying or leasing. Pay a little more for the right construction team (if needed). There is not much room to cut corners in commercial real estate.
You get five acres and an unlimited construction budget. What do you build and where?
Think of a retirement community with all of the amenities, on the water somewhere, BUT instead of only being allowed to lease/sell to empty nesters, you can only lease/sell to young professionals.
The next apartment complex over will be limited to young families. Of course, it is illegal to discriminate based on familial status and age (with exception to senior communities) so this could never work but I think these two populations could really benefit from living together, helping each other out, and learning from one another. Plus it would just be really fun.
What was the last book you read?
Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Loved it. I promise this was the last book I read … not making this up to appease readership! It takes place on the coast of NC.
What's one movie you love to rewatch?
Oh gosh, I’m not much of a movie person. But I have noticed that when I see Top Gun or Pretty Woman on, I stop and watch. Every. Time.
What's one thing most people might not know about you?
I can track my family roots back to the Outer Banks for at least 165 years.
My maiden name is Meekins and my great grandmother was a Mason. Both families helped settle a small fishing town called Stumpy Point located in Dare County near Manteo in the 1800s.
I’ve heard that prior to Stumpy Point, the Meekinses were in Manteo, Rodanthe, and Hatteras but I haven’t been able to trace my line back past Stumpy Point. It is a work in progress.
Do you collect anything?
Quite the opposite. I am a minimalist.
What is your favorite thing about the Outer Banks?
It can be whatever you want it to be. If you want a quiet experience, you can stay north. If you want more of a beach-city experience, head south after you come over the Wright Memorial Bridge. Each town is different and great in their own way.
What's your favorite way to spend your free time?
With my family. Anything with my family is a great time.
What inspires you?
Perseverance. People are amazing.

Contact Info

Erica Rorrer
(757) 377-8474


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Topics:Commercial Real EstateEconomic DevelopmentCurrituck CountyOuter Banks