Outer Banks Commercial Real Estate Newsletter: April 2021

by Larry Lombardi, on Apr 11, 2021 5:04:37 PM

Frank Thomas (MKTG Photo)

OBX CRE Spotlight

Frank Thomas

Agent & Realtor



  • Born and raised in Norfolk, VA.
  • Two grown sons, one in Austin and one in Alexandria.
  • Married to my wife Marian for 30 years.
  • One granddaughter.

How long have you been working in commercial real estate?

Since January, 1995.
How did you first get into real estate?

My best friend offered me a job in commercial real estate after Frank Thomas Company closed in the fall of 1994. I already knew many of the other agents (and their families) because they wore our suits!

What was your first CRE transaction?

Spring of 1995 - an office lease in Norfolk, in which I represented the tenant. My client was Sev Kellam, who owned a local title company.
What was your most memorable CRE transaction?
A property assemblage of three city blocks in Norfolk on Monticello Avenue. I represented the seller for Sam Segar & Associates. It was over 5 acres of industrial property rezoned to multifamily residential, which created the first multifamily development on the outskirts of Downtown Norfolk. This began my love of working additional assemblages in Norfolk. Those, too, have been industrial property being rezoned to multifamily residential. It's allowed me to be part of the redevelopment of the "Railroad District" as it is now called.
What's your favorite part of working in CRE?
Every transaction and every customer/client is different. I also enjoy "running the numbers" for potential deals and negotiating to get deals closed. Some might say I don't take 'no' for an answer. I say I'm like water torture-- one drop at a time.
What's one of the most challenging parts of working in CRE?
The different areas about which one must be knowledgeable, including leasing, accounting, architecture, engineering, municipalities, agencies and more.
How would you describe the commercial real estate market in northeastern NC and the Outer Banks?
Strong, but with a shortage of property that has infrastructure already in-place.

Can you share one great piece of advice for someone looking to buy/lease commercial property or land?

Be very conservative in running your numbers. Utilize a higher interest rate than market. Always include reserves for repairs and vacancy, with said reserves being projected on the Gross Operating Income (GOI) when applicable.
What is your favorite thing about the Outer Banks?
Generally? The ocean and the salt-laden wind. Specifically? My wedding anniversary trips with my wife to Duck. I hope we are able to do that again soon.
What's your favorite way to spend your free time?
Surf fishing! Spending time with my wife. Nightly trike (tricycle) rides with my yellow lab, Joe. Taking communion to the sick and homebound of our church, Church of the Good Shepherd. Swimming at the YMCA. Working in the garden. Sponsoring men struggling with alcohol abuse. Being a member of the Downtown Kiwanis Club, where I enjoy leading the prayer at weekly meetings when I can.


(757) 497-4446

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Topics:Commercial Real EstateEconomic DevelopmentCurrituck CountyOuter Banks